From pv magazine USA.
An existential threat to our species and the biggest issue of the 21st century, climate change is apparently not serious enough for the Democratic Party to devote a debate to the subject.
That’s the message the campaign of 2020 presidential hopeful Jay Inslee put out last night. It was reinforced by Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair Tom Perez on Twitter, who attempted to defuse anger by saying the issue should instead feature in every debate:
The @DNC will not be holding entire debates on a single issue area – we want to make sure voters have the ability to hear from candidates on all the issues.
— Tom Perez (@TomPerez) June 6, 2019
Apparently that’s not all the DNC said. According to a statement by Inslee, the machine that runs the Democratic Party has also warned him if he takes part in any other climate debate, he won’t be welcome at any of theirs. Per the Inslee statement:
…they explained that if we participated in anyone else’s climate debate, we will not be invited to future debates
The move was denounced by leading Democrats, with fellow presidential contender and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Al Gore and Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley condemning the development. Others though, including Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse – who has been outspoken about climate change – have not yet commented.
Gov. Inslee is exactly right. Climate change is the biggest challenge we face. Every candidate running for president should have a serious set of policies to address it, and should be eager to defend those proposals in a debate. https://t.co/6uprXIJKa2
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) June 6, 2019
Biden climate plan plagiarism
One voice absent from those criticizing the DNC decision belonged to Democratic front-runner and former vice president Joe Biden. There is strong evidence to suggest the Biden campaign plagiarized large parts of its recently released climate plan, including an allegation the campaign copied sections whole-hog from a 2017 letter sent by the Blue Green Alliance and Carbon Capture Coalition:
The paragraph in Joe Biden’s climate plan about carbon capture and sequestration includes language that is remarkably similar to items published previously by the Blue Green Alliance and the Carbon Capture Coalition.
— Josh Nelson (@josh_nelson) June 4, 2019
On Twitter, UC Santa Barbara political science professor Leah Stokes slammed the Biden plan when it was released, noting “as a professor, I’ve seen plagiarism before”:
I have no problem with campaigns borrowing ideas with one another. But there needs to be substance and commitment behind those plans.
Given Biden’s mixed record on environmental issues, climate change is clearly not his strong card. By declining to debate the issue, the DNC has opened itself up to allegations it is throwing its weight behind the establishment candidate.
It would not be the first time such allegations have been made. Former party chief Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned in 2016 following the release of emails suggesting she and other DNC staff had shown favor to Hillary Clinton ahead of radical candidate Bernie Sanders.
The DNC’s move could also further alienate the young voters who will experience more of the impacts of climate change.
The blocking move, however, may end up bolstering the Inslee campaign, which turned the refusal into a request for the contact information of supporters within hours, followed by a fundraising appeal.