MINOT, N.D. -- Despite the consistent derision of "old white men" among progressive activists, the Democratic 2020 nomination race has narrowed itself down to a choice between two ancient white men.

Conventional wisdom is that former Vice President Joe Biden is the moderate, centrist choice while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders represents the left wing.

Given the real-world policy positions of these candidates, the debate over who is and is not a moderate may as well be taking place out in far left field.

Allow me to illustrate.

Recently Biden and Sanders appeared on CNN for an in-studio debate. The moderator, Jake Tapper, asked Biden about his "climate plan," noting that it would only cost $1.7 trillion compared to the Sanders plan, which would spend something like $14 trillion.

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"Is your plan ambitious enough?" Tapper asked Biden.

Let's pause here for a moment to consider how casually these astoundingly enormous numbers are thrown around.

It's hard to talk about the U.S. budget these days, because our federal government has become so dysfunctional it doesn't really budget anymore, but to put those "climate plan" spending numbers into perspective, in 2019 total American spending was about $4.45 trillion.

The amounts these candidates would spend in just one issue area are larger than what we will spend on Medicare, Social Security, and national security combined in 2020.

But beyond the fool's errand that is measuring the efficacy of public policy by how much it will cost are the specifics of what these two would do to one of our nation's most important industries if given the power of the presidency.

Sanders was full of the sort of authoritarian bluster you expect from a long-time admirer of the Soviet Union. He said he intends to "take on the fossil fuel industry," which ought to "be held criminally accountable" for "lying for years" about climate change.

Socialists sure love putting people they don't like in jail.

Biden, the supposed moderate in the race, felt like he had to try and get to the left of the guy who wants to perp walk the oil industry to prison.

"No. 1 , no more subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, no more drilling on federal lands, no more drilling, including offshore, no ability for the oil industry to continue to drill, period, ends, number one," he told Tapper.

Let this part sink in: "no ability for the oil industry to continue to drill, period."

That would be terrible for North Dakota, where the oil industry drives tens of thousands of jobs and more than half of all tax revenues.

It would be terrible for our country, too.

We're all using oil, every single day. Even Sanders and Biden use it.

Yet they want to stop oil production, and maybe also put oil producers in prison.

And these are the sane alternatives to Donald Trump?

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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at rport@forumcomm.com.