Take a step back from the general election, but take two steps forward toward the Democratic primary. That seems to be the strategy behind Hillary Clinton's announcement yesterday that she opposed the Keystone XL pipeline, writes Philip Bump for the Washington Post, asserting that Clinton may have purposely timed her anti-pipeline statements to lure liberal Democrats who've been more amenable to competitor Bernie Sanders, per CNN/ORC polling—even if those Dems may not be the ones to push her over the top in November 2016. "The politics explain themselves," Bump writes. "Clinton is now willing to make her November case slightly more difficult if she can make her spring fight easier."
According to a Gallup poll cited by the Post, while only 67% of moderate and conservative Democrats believe global warming is caused by human activity, a more substantial number—81%—of liberal Democrats think that's the case. And because of environmental concerns swirling around the pipeline, it may make political sense for Clinton to bring that up now to pull liberal Democrats in—even though polls from late last year and earlier this year show that support among Americans overall for the Keystone project is strong, Bump notes. And Sanders knows what's the what, he adds, welcoming her to the opposition party yesterday in a tweet. "Clinton is late to the party on Keystone, but she's clearly interested in being where the party is," Bump writes. Click for his full column.