CNN and MSNBC are hosting climate “town halls” with 2020 candidates, but everybody knows debates draw more eyeballs because they feature candidates actually talking to each other. The debates are the mass media centerpieces of the campaign; they have an added prestige no forum can match. And climate change is literally going to doom the entire planet, and is intrinsically connected to every single other issue—health, racism, labor, you name it. So, y’know...probably a good thing to debate, and to debate for more than the few minutes that the issue gets in the regular debates.
But no. From HuffPost:
At a party conference Thursday in San Francisco, top DNC officials voted 17-8 against a resolution that had become a cause célèbre for activists and for more than a dozen presidential contenders who felt the traditional debate format failed to adequately address the looming threat of catastrophe.
It was a predictable outcome. Top brass at the DNC opposed the climate debate from the get-go, fearing it could sow discord in the base and hamper the eventual nominee in the general election. CNN and MSNBC announced plans last month to host forums on climate change in September. DNC Chair Tom Perez affirmed the forums in a resolution introduced earlier this month, which some activists saw as setting the stage for voting down the climate debate.
Activists in the crowd were not happy.
One of the people pushing to vote down the climate debate was Symone Sanders, a top staffer on Joe Biden’s campaign.
Sanders said that it wasn’t fair to other groups, such as black, Latinx, and women’s groups, who had been told they couldn’t have debates. She continued:
I fundamentally believe that climate change is an existential threat...but I do think we have to think about the other folks that communicated they wanted a debate that were told...you may not have a debate but you can in fact have a forum. And we support forums, but I just—I think this is dangerous territory in the middle of the Democratic primary process.
Another thing that is dangerous territory? The entire planet melting and collapsing. Also, yes, there should be debates around black and Latinx and women’s issues, so why not push for those too?
It’s also weird because, as the green activist group Sunrise Movement pointed out, Biden has called for a climate debate in the past.
Guess he changed his mind! Cool, thanks Joe.