As members of the Sunrise Movement camped out in front of the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters to demand a debate focused solely on climate, the second night of the first 2020 primary debate drew to a close.
Many users on Twitter have found a fresh reason to agree with the group of youth climate activists: the NBC-hosted debates themselves.
Self-proclaimed 2020 ‘climate candidate’ Washington Governor Jay Inslee has continued to push for a primary debate dedicated to the climate crisis. Many other Democratic presidential hopefuls got on board, but DNC Chair Tom Perez put the kibosh on the idea, saying having a dedicated debate to each topic “isn’t practical,” but vowing that the climate would be discussed.
But two nights have come and gone and many viewers were unimpressed. With just 8 percent of the debates total devoted to climate — 10 minutes out of two hours each night — voters were left wondering how candidates plan to address the impending climate disaster within the next decade.
And many of the questions could be seen as out-of-touch (Who should pay to mitigate climate disaster in America?) or showing a dated understanding of the topic (the premise that a president would have to choose between healthcare and climate). Many of Chuck Todd’s questions on the first night emphasized the potential costs or difficulties in taking climate action, without noting the danger or economic cost of not taking action.
It was enough to change some minds, including one MSNBC host:
Even Democratic Senator Brian Schatz from Hawaii knocked NBC over the debates’ climate setup.
One respondent to the Hawaii senator’s tweet poked fun at Todd’s rapid fire round on climate:
Sunrise Movement leader Varshini Prakash expressed her disappointment after the first night of debates:
And of course, you can always count on Inslee to stay the course: