DNC quashes idea of de­bate on cli­mate

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - News - BY BILL BARROW

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.

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