Revoking the Rust Belt

Joe Biden upended the historic formula of a Democratic presidential nominee. Usually, the hopeful plays his liberal greatest hits to the primary crowd, before tacking to the center as the election dawns and ordinary Americans start listening.

Since his assisted capture of the nomination, Biden has veered leftward, crafting, with the help of the party’s progressive wing, the most progressive platform since the ill-fated George McGovern in 1972.

This is not, as some attest, a political rebirth, but the reparations Biden and the party must pay to those the establishment bilked of the big prize.

The fractures within this forced marriage were first sealed with Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) help—the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force scored some big wins, shunting Biden’s energy platform into what supporters have assured is the “most aggressive climate change plan of any presidential candidate in U.S. history.”

At the final presidential debate, these cracks finally burst open. Biden first committed to collapsing the oil industry, then, as the realization washed over his otherwise squinted eyes, insisted such a change would be transitory: “I would transition from the oil industry, yes,” he said.

Biden’s in trouble. His unlikely candidacy relies on regular blood transfusions from the Democratic Party’s “climate justice” wing. In dive bar parlance, “climate justice” means end fossil fuels and ban fracking.

Again, Biden insisted “I never said I opposed fracking!” Yet even CNN rated that claim false in what is perhaps the first time that network and American Greatness have found agreement.

Biden has morphed from position to position—to some he’d ban fracking, to others he’d transition from fracking, to others still he’d leave fracking alone.

Fracking is a process designed to extract fossil fuels from shale rock formations. In Pennsylvania alone, fracking provides 32,000 high-paying jobs to workers whose ancestral generations NAFTA condemned to economic apartheid and social decay.

Biden’s “transition” away from fossil fuels would dissolve the livelihoods of millions of Americans in Texas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, North Dakota, and New Mexico.

The U.S. oil and gas industry supports 10.3 million jobs, paying an average salary of $101,000, and pumping $1.3 trillion into the U.S. economy last year alone.

Biden later revisited his statement, saying that he would end fossil fuel subsidies, and insisting: “We’re not getting rid of fossil fuels for a long time . . . probably 2050.” Displaced workers, he said, would be ushered into alternative work—much like NAFTA’s orphans were assured the same.

Endangered Democrats broke with Biden. U.S. Representative Kendra Horn (D-Okla.) insisted the party standard-bearer’s position was “one of the places where Biden and I disagree.”

Another, Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.) said Biden was “out of touch with the reality on the ground” and warned against Biden’s “demonization” of the industry.

That industry did not take kindly to Biden’s comments. Mike Sommers, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute said in a statement:

Democrats, Republicans and Independents know that the U.S. natural gas and oil industry delivers affordable and reliable energy to American families and businesses and all over the world.

We are proud of the grit, innovation and progress we’ve made so that Americans no longer have to choose between environmental progress and access to affordable, reliable and cleaner energy. And we aren’t going anywhere.

Like the process of fracking, Biden’s comments cracked through the Democratic Party’s foundations. Biden’s appeal to the party establishment rests on his electability, his moderate magnetism. To win, Biden must reconquer the Rust Belt and recapture blue-collar Democrats, the fabled Obama-Trump voters, millions of whom deserted a party hostile to their interests for President Trump’s Rust Belt revival.

This strategy runs right through Pennsylvania, a state in which 80 percent said the oil and gas industries provide “some” or a “great deal” of value to them personally. A full 67 percent said those industries would remain “essential” to America even by 2040. That’s only 10 years before Biden’s fossil fuel transition deadline.

Such a transition would cost millions of jobs and juke the gas pumps to $6 a gallon, hurting not just the same Americans whom NAFTA consigned to economic wastelands, but all Americans.

Harold Hamm, founder of Continental Resources, said after the debate that “$6 gas” would adorn a Biden presidency, and rupture economic recovery.

“If Biden is elected and his plan on energy is adopted, he will send America into a deep depression and millions of jobs will be lost in Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Oklahoma, North Dakota and we will once again be beholden to foreign rogue regimes for our energy.” 

Biden’s energy platform pays tribute to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-N.Y.) Green New Deal, deadlining net zero emissions by 2050.

Wayne Christian, head of the regulatory Texas Railroad Commission, said Biden’s sophomoric zero-emissions goal was “impossible,” would hurt American families, and destroy the economy.

The Democratic nominee is careful as one can be in mapping a safe path between conflicting party interests. The climate justice wing demands punishing measures, measures demanding Democratic voters lose their jobs.

This year, Biden’s fracking position has morphed from a full ban to a phase-out, to “no new fracking.”

The latter, Biden seemingly believes, is a neat sop to the warring factions, and a statement he’s more willing to endorse. When questioned, the Biden campaign offers boiler plate insisting he does not support a nationwide fracking ban but will stop all oil and gas drilling on federal lands and will oppose new fracking permits.

Yet, a new study found a fracking ban on federal lands and waters alone would dissolve, by 2022, 1 million U.S. jobs and derail America’s energy independence. Americans by 2030 would spend $20 billion more on surging energy bills.

Biden’s austere relationship with the truth is by design. After his assisted capture of the nomination, the Biden campaign paid reparations to the progressive wing unhappy with his unlikely victory.

The Sanders-Warren wing not only had a major say across a host of policies but was especially present in crafting Biden’s energy platform.

The youth-driven Sunrise Movement described Biden’s platform as a “seismic shift in climate policy at the federal level” telling supporters: “Joe Biden’s plan isn’t everything, but it isn’t nothing at all.”

Inside the campaign, Stef Feldman, Biden’s policy director, told media: “He will demand a worldwide ban on fossil fuel subsidies and lead the world by example, eliminating fossil fuel subsidies in the United States during the first year of his presidency.”

Outside the campaign, Leah Stokes, a noted “climate justice” activist, recently assured that the Unity Task Force was “extremely successful” scoring major wins for the movement in a plan she baptized the “most aggressive climate change plan of any presidential candidate in U.S. history.”

The climate justice movement shares with Kamala Harris, the vice presidential nominee’s unequivocal position: ban fracking.

A ban on fracking would kill 6 million jobs across seven states by 2025—600,000 Pennsylvanians would join the welfare rolls, and the blue-collar renaissance would disappear with them.

About Christopher Gage

Christopher Gage is a British political journalist and a founding member of the Gentlemen of the Swig. Subscribe to his Substack, "Oxford Sour."

Photo: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

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54 responses to “Revoking the Rust Belt”

  1. Right now, a vote for a D means a vote to end fracking and make fossil fuels more expensive by government fiat. This will empower all those petro regimes we have heard very little from these last few years.

    It will also mean impeaching Trump if elected, packing the supreme court and opening the border to 650 million of the worlds poorest. Medicare becomes Medicaid for all. That might sound good, but if you look at the studies, Medicaid is just as good as no medical care. Probably because you think you are getting it while in line.

    We need a return to the old Democrat party. We will not get there via socialism.

    • So, we need to get back to the “good” ole democrat party if I understand you correctly? Is that the party that placed judges on the court to enable the murder of over 60 million babies, with minorities vastly overrepresented among that number. Or is it the party that instituted the policies that decimated the black families in America and devised ways to encourage women to have babies without husbands so they could draw welfare checks. Or is it the party that has spent decades converting the public education system from one that taught reading, writing, math, and love of country to one that teaches none of those now but simply indoctrinates your children and teaches them to hate our nation and turn from what you have taught them at home and in church? I think I’ll take a pass on the “good” ole democrat party that you long for to return, and I suspect millions of other Americans will take that pass as well come election day.

    • Yeah, I have no problem impeaching President Trump when he sold out our national security interests by bribing a foreign country to help him politically with an announcement of a fake investigation against a political rival. We Republicans should not be supporting a President who encourages foreign interference into our elections.

    • The model for Quid Pro Joe’s energy policy is California, home of the most expensive gasoline in the nation and electricity shortages and outages.

      “When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers.” Oscar Wilde

  2. Rust Belt, Democrat/socialist aren’t worried about no stinking Rust Belt.
    Don’t underestimate the democrat/socialist ability to cheat their way to a win. Plenty of opportunity for that to happen with the massive mail in voting and relaxation of rules in regards to counting votes across the country.

  3. I read the “Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations”

    And I do agree with much of it. However, I do not trust the people behind it to actually follow through. After all, they held the Whitehouse for 16 years under Clinton/Obama which caused even greater inflation, forced me to purchase medical insurance with such a high deductible that I can not afford to use it, while medical insurance companies made record profits and Biden apparently created massive wealth for he and his family just as many carer politicians have been doing since humans began occupying earth suits on this planet.

    Unfortunately, burning gasses in any form is not healthy for any carbon based life form. Nor is opening fishers that allow trapped gasses to be released into the atmosphere. Again, unfortunately, there are people who have created massive wealth for their families, who are heavily invested, therefore have much to lose if this planet transitions to cleaner forms of energy.

    Then we have the situation in which the working poor earn decent pay working for these powerful wealthy corporations. But at what cost? If we frack and continue to burn gases, this planet will eventually become a toxic wasteland.

    Another problem I see is that solar is not developed enough yet to provide this planet with the amount of energy it currently needs without making every roof out of solar energy collecting material, which could be done by those people who currently work for big oil. But then what jobs can they transition into once done?

    I may have a plan that will work. However, it will take all of us working together:

    • Solar currently is 1.65 percent of Us power. Solar also currently utilizes large land masses for small return. Try to obtain approval for solar farm. Neighbors come out of the woodwork… I could keep going. The country needs to utilize all sources of power.

    • That’s ‘fissures,’ AH. 2 bad you’re CSW of a mother didn’t teach to spell as well as run your idiotic mouth. GFY.

      • Thank you for the grammar lesson, and for sharing your opinion Robert Allen.

        Because I do not think like you, I have no idea what “CWS” means. However, based upon your hostile opinion, I’ll figure it is derogatory. Just so you know, many who knew my mother stated that my mother was one of the kindest individuals to have ever walked this earth.

        I wish you well Robert Allen, despite your obvious mental wounds:

    • Not healthy for any carbon- based life form?? What nonsense is that?
      Additional atmospheric CO2 in the past 50 years accounts for 15 to 25% of worldwide foodstuff production, which has kept much of humanity from starving. So contrary to your opinion, the facts show fossil fuel consumption to be far more beneficial than any downside!

  4. Biden’s statements sway with the wind at any given moment but his intentions are as clear as day to anyone who truly sees him for what he is and what he means. He and his cohorts will destroy the economy in every way possible way starting on day one. With the likes of Harris, Cortex, Omar, Tlaib and others, I’m not so sure the democrat party exists any longer.
    On the other hand, Trump has done so much for so many in such short time it’s almost unimaginable.
    I know where my loyalty falls and for whom my vote will be for.
    MAGA A / KAG 2020

  5. Even $5.00 a gallon gasoline is impossible, $4.00 destroys my family budget, $6.00 is twice what I can easily pay. As scary as these thoughts are, the corresponding changes to society are beyond cost.

  6. The author and the commenters have Biden Delusion Syndrome. Trump is toast.

    • I was born and raised in Hollywood and you remind me of the people I grew up with and why I left. No substance to your response, just dismissal. This isn’t a “Hollywood” movie. There are real consequences to Biden’s policies. Wake up! Even a “song” from Cher won’t help you when its $6/gallon gasoline and you have rolling blackouts like in California.

      • Well, ben, maybe you should have stuck it out. I paid $2.75 per gallon just the other day. Have you ever bought gas in europe? A liter there costs about what a gallon here does. Why is it so much more expensive? Because it has a lot of tax on it that pays for things the government and society need. A few years ago it was estimated that if we added a ten cent per gallon tax we could have made social security solvent for decades. But politicians were too afraid. And big oil didn’t like it.
        As for rolling blackouts, although I have heard there were some, I have yet to experience one even with all the fires messing with our electric power (I’ve lived in California for 50 years).
        As for Biden’s policies, you are buying into some scare stories. He’s a moderate guy. He is not going to turn the country upside down. First, he has to get elected. Then, he has to have a Democratic Senate and House. Then, he will have to fight off legal challenges before a 6-3 GOP SCOTUS. So, the sky is not falling in. Biden’s hands are going to be pretty full cleaning up the messes Trump has made with respect to COVID, the economy, race relations, our relations with our allies, etc.

      • And you don’t think there are “real consequences” to Trump’s undermining of our Constitution, his hostility to democratic values, his dismissal of federalism and separation of powers and checks and balances, his giving aid and comfort to America’s enemies while undermining our relationships with our allies?

  7. Biden is a confused, spineless moron. He will do whatever Bernie and the leftist crazies tell him to do if he is elected. He has no personal convictions. He doesn’t know what to think about “climate change” and fossil fuels. What most educated people do know is, the “climate” of the earth has warmed and cooled many times in the past 3 billion or so years. Nobody can say with certainty why this happened. But we can be sure it happened, because their is physical evidence in layers of rock sediment, tree rings, various other measurements. And we can also be sure all this happened long before power plants, or cars, or even republicans. We could not stop climate change no matter what we do. And we are not going to adopt a stone-age lifestyle in a vain attempt to “stop” climate change. If it happens, we will adapt. But the left is convinced that it is OUR fault, so they aim to de-industrialize our country, impose poverty on us, and make us live like primitives in New Guinea or Africa. Most sane, educated white Americans reject that, so we reject Joe Biden and his sick tribe of leftist nutcases.

    • One area where we can reduce CO2 is by investing heavily in R&D to develop our nuclear energy industry. France gets about 70% of its electricity from nuclear energy, and while nuclear energy is not complete CO2 free, its emissions are very low. France has also developed advanced technology to reduce the amount of nuclear spent fuel to the size of a golf ball, according to a “60 Minutes” segment several years ago. This is a direction we should go as well. Unfortunately, the Leftists who are pushing this Green New Deal are adamantly opposed to nuclear energy.

      • Like most intellectually bankrupt Democrats, Hollywood NEVER offers any evidence or any real contribution to the discussion. Democrats: slavery, Jim Crow and, now, the Big Government Democrat Dependency Plantation with slave masters like James Clyburn cracking the whip on blacks uppity enough to think for themselves and terrorists like Maxine Waters (West Coast Director) and Ayanna Pressley (East Coast Director) calling for riots and mayhem constantly. Of course, this is all aided and abetted by a brainwashing academy and media more interested in virtue signaling than truth-telling. Please Tom Wolfe return to chronically the never-ending barbarism of the Democrat Part.

    • Well put, I wish everyone would read this and understand. Most of these so called scientists get government grants to study climate change. If they told the truth they wouldn’t have a job.

  8. No one gives a covid who Hunter Biden grabbed by the frackin whatever. Joe Biden is headed to a landslide win because the country is exhausted by the low class PIG. Period…

  9. Biden is a pol. If it buys him power, he doesn’t care about the consequences. And if he can find himself an expert to say the consequences for the world are great (which is hogwash because jobs killed in the developed world are reinvented in the third world where they are done dirtier and cheaper than ever) he can even get himself flattery and prizes. This whole green bunch he is pandering to are delusional. They aren’t going to change China and they don’t really want to try. They just want to hurt the USA and feel good about themselves. Sacrificing other people’s jobs is a small price to pay for making yourself a saint.

    • Really, tell us how that Carrier deal worked out. What about all the lost manufacturing jobs? What about all the lost coal jobs? Just hot air from Trump.

  10. The Eco-Freaks are run ona rediclous ideology based upon their own idiotic ideas banning DDT was based upon Lies of Rachel Carson and the Junk Science and Lies and Junk Science is all behind this Global Warming/Climate Change scam

  11. It’s not just the rust belt.

    Here’s one you won’t read anywhere in the MSM. I live in Portland, Oregon. Oregon doesn’t get polled much because it’s viewed as “hard blue”. However, a recent private poll here showed Trump leading Biden 52% to 48%. The poll was pulled down and disappeared in less than 6 hours. Portland is ground zero for the crazed libs in Oregon. If Biden loses here he’ll lose the state. Oregon hasn’t gone Republican since Reagan.

    Moral: It’s not a good idea to burn down your own cities, Dems.

  12. What a totally baseless article. Pure right wing bullshit propaganda.

  13. So Harold Hamm says that if we stop using petroleum for fuel we will need to import more petroleum? That makes about as much sense as the rest of this article, which is nonsense.

    • Note: The author does not say we will stop using petroleum for fuel, but that we will have to import it, instead of providing our own.

      • Which is the opposite of anything that is actually being proposed.

    • Do you know that 99% of plastic is made from chemicals sourced from fossil fuels?

      • 0% of plastic is made from fossil fuel because if it is used to make plastic then it is not fuel. Duh. Firewood is not lumber. But no one is saying that we can’t produce petroleum to make plastic. That is just a scare tactic.

  14. The article makes assertions that are almost certainly false. First, at its current price, oil retrieved through fracking is either not profitable, or marginally profitable. Second, the assumption that a transition to non-fossil fuel energies will lose jobs is, at best, debatable. Developing and producing clean energy will create many jobs. Third, the environmental costs of fracking as it is currently done, ultimately outweigh the gain from oil production. Typically, if any cleanup is done, it is done by the government and that costs taxpayers. As long as the environmental costs are minimal, fracking is fine with me. But I do not trust the companies that do this to actually minimize those costs, especially if the profit margins are slim. Sure, Biden sucks, but Trump is a conman. He is a failed businessman, whose only successes have been as a reality TV star, and as a politician. Why would you want a man who somehow, against all odds, lost vast sums of money in real estate in the 80s and 90s, in an area where even idiots made fortunes on real estate investments? I would never vote for a Democrat or a Republican on principle, but I am quite ready to not hear any more from or about the Orange Superspreader. Oh, and Trump is going to lose the upper midwest and Az and possibly FL. People are very tired of the extended shit show that is the Trump presidency. All you rightwing folks that are trying to make something of the freaking laptop or Burisma are, making shit up, and whistling in the dark.

    • you’re a retard. you don’t understand or have any knowledge of the fracking industry or its economics – you’re a pouty bitch that can’t stand that Trump won the 2016 election and you want to wine about it everywhere you go and make every issue about how much you hate donald trump even though trump has nothing to do with the topic. you’re a whiny loser and unbelievably dumb and pathetic – do the world a favor and kill yourself, you fat douche. I don’t support trump and I’m not a conservative – I just hate incredibly dumb piles of shite like you

  15. No president can ban fracking — full stop. A president could ban fracking on federal land, but over 95 percent of fracking is on private or state land. Republicans should stop lying about this important issue.

    • Ask NY where there is a fracking ban on all lands. Private and public

    • So Anwar, Gulf of Mexico and all other offshore will never be fracked and that will be inconsequential? Call me skeptical.

  16. Biden’s not really lying if he can’t remember when he said he’d ban fracking. One of the benefits of dementia is that you can have a new position every day.

  17. Trying to figure out how you fly a plane without petroleum. As far as importing more petroleum if we stop creating it here – ask California how their rolling blackouts are working for them by shutting down “old ways” of generating power before figuring out how to fill the gap with solar and wind.

  18. Biden has proposed banning fracking on federal land. Nearly all the fracking in Texas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, North Dakota, and New Mexico occurs on private property. Banning fracking on federal land is not likely to reduce oil industry employment.

    • If it is banned on federal lands/properties like Anwar and all offshore it will have a significant impact on employment in the industry.

  19. NEWSFLASH: Pennsylvania is ALREADY in a depression thanks to Trump’s broken promises and incompetence.

    In January 2017, the state’s unemployment rate was 5.2%……last month it was 10.4%. Even before COVID-19, PA was lagging behind most of the rest of the country – this article is ridiculous. :)

  20. How many PA homes are heated by fuel oil? How much would it cost to retrofit any one of those home to an alternative energy source, one unlikely to be natural gas?

    Now, let’s all remember just how uncomfortable and disappointing and expensive electric heat is.

  21. Someone should point out the mindless Quid Pro Joe the nation cannot stop using petroleum “by 2050” unless it begins shifting at some point and at great expense. That shift is likely baked in, without government intervention, and if market forces bring it about it will be done far more efficiently and effectively than any humongous federal bureaucracy ever could.

    • To completely eliminate fracking by 2050, there will need to be huge changes immediately. Don’t kid yourself otherwise. Mr. Biden, or rather Ms. Harris may not ban it immediately, but she will regulate it to death beginning in January. Just ask West Virginians. They used to mine coal. They had jobs that the liberals killed. And will young people have any incentive to enter a dying industry? You know the answer to that and the consequences.