At Thursday night’s Democratic presidential primary debate, former Vice President Joe Biden answered “yes” when asked if he’d be willing to sacrifice oil and gas jobs in order to achieve “green energy,” as reported by Fox News.
At the debate, hosted by PBS and Politico, moderator Tim Alberta asked if Biden would “be willing to sacrifice some of that [energy] growth, even knowing potentially that it could displace thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of blue-collar workers in the interest of transitioning to that greener economy.”
Biden responded with “the answer is yes,” before adding that “we’re the only country in the world that’s taken great, great crises and turned them into enormous opportunities.”
He also advocated for installing “550,000 charging stations” across America for electric cars “so that we own the electrical vehicle market,” and claimed that in the event so many blue-collar workers lost their jobs, that “we explain it to those people who are displaced that their skills are going to be needed for the new opportunities.” The statement marks a stark contrast to Biden’s previous persona on the campaign trail, where he has depicted himself as a friend to the working-class.
The event was the sixth Democratic presidential primary debate of the 2020 election cycle, and the last debate of the year 2019. In contrast to the first and second debates both featuring 20 candidates, with 10 candidates onstage over the course of two nights, this was the smallest debate of the election cycle yet, with just seven candidates onstage: Biden, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-Ind.), Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), billionaire Tom Steyer (D-Calif.), and entrepreneur Andrew Yang (D-N.Y.).
Polling for the 2020 primaries has experienced more fluctuation in recent weeks, with both Warren and Buttigieg experiencing national surges before falling into steady declines. Biden still leads the field, with Sanders now in a comfortable second place, with Warren in third and Buttigieg in fourth. Buttigieg and Sanders are roughly tied for first place in the Iowa caucuses, while Sanders is narrowly the favorite to win in the New Hampshire primary.
The Iowa caucuses, which will officially kick off the primary season, will take place on February 3rd, 2020.