DNC quashes idea of debate on climate
The Democratic National Committee on Saturday quashed a push from climate activists and some national party members who want a 2020 presidential primary debate devoted exclusively to the climate crisis.
The national party committee voted 222-137 at its summer meeting in San Francisco against a resolution that effectively would have rolled back debate rules set by Chairman Tom Perez and freed presidential candidates to participate in a climateonly debate.
The move drew rebukes from the Sunrise Movement and other activists who say the party leadership is ignoring young voters’ priorities.
“The Democratic Party needs the energy and motivation of young people to win in 2020,” said Evan Weber, Sunrise Movement political director. “The energy around this issue has been incredibly clear, yet Tom Perez keeps shooting the party in the foot by rejecting that energy and turning it away.”
Perez has said throughout the primary campaign that he opposes making any of the party’s official debates revolve around a single issue. Perez said this week in San Francisco that he wants the widest possible audiences for primetime debates, with voters getting to see candidates address a full range of issues.
And he’d barred candidates from participating in any non-party event where candidates would appear on the same stage at the same time. An influential party committee had voted Thursday effectively to “encourage” candidates to ignore that rule. The vote Saturday by the full party committee struck down that language.
The wrangling this week came in the wake of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee ending his presidential bid that he’d hinged on a pledge to make climate action the nation’s top priority. Inslee had repeatedly called on Perez to dedicate a DNC-sponsored debate to climate action.