We are facing an existential threat. It’s time to act like it.

Lauren Martinchek
Aug 29 · 4 min read
Photo via Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Thanks largely to organizations like the Sunrise Movement, along with Washington Governor and former Presidential candidate Jay Inslee, the Democratic National Committee has faced incredibly intense pressure throughout this election primary season to hold a debate centered entirely around the topic of climate change. Nevertheless, in spite of the continued and ever growing pressure to have this debate, the DNC recently voted against it.

As the DNC votes against this debate, the Amazon burns, the Coral Reef continues to die, the icebergs across the globe continue to melt at record breaking speeds. Those opposed to the debate argue that if this debate would have been allowed to happen, a debate for criminal justice reform, women’s rights, immigration, etc. would have to be allowed. They argue that it sets a disruptive precedent, and that candidates need to be able to juggle a multitude if issues at once in order to prove themselves worthy of the Presidency.

For one thing, I wouldn’t be opposed to a scenario in which each of the most important issues that voters have chosen get their own debate. Especially in such a crowded field of candidates, voters deserve to know the candidates they are expected to vote for, and candidates deserve to be able to eloquently and effectively make their case on a wide variety of issues in a meaningful way.

But in all honesty that is not and never has been the point. The entire point behind the push for a climate change debate is the devastating but logical position that if we have no planet, then nothing else matters. Unable to argue against this fact, the DNC has chosen to ignore it instead.

All that being said, it is worth examining why the DNC and the leadership in particular is so vehemently against having a debate centered around a crisis that literally threatens the existence of our entire species. We all should understand the motivations behind the efforts to prevent such a vital, important event.

The real answer — of course — is as predictable as it is infuriating.

Almost exactly one year ago, The Hill reported that the DNC under the leadership of Tom Perez reversed the ban on democratic candidates taking donations from the fossil fuel industry.

The article states:

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) overwhelmingly passed a resolution on Friday evening saying it welcomes donations from fossil fuel industry workers and “employers’ political action committees.”

Critics of the newly passed resolution are calling it a reversal of the DNC’s recently adopted ban on accepting donations from fossil fuel companies’ political organizations.

DNC Chairman Tom Perez sponsored Friday’s resolution that allows the committee to accept contributions from “workers, including those in energy and related industries, who organize and donate to Democratic candidates individually or through their unions’ or employers’ political action committees.”

Perez, who served as Labor Secretary in the Obama administration, said the new measure was a commitment to organized labor.”

The DNC’s actions have been clear from the very beginning, and their flailing attempts to gaslight the American public into believing that the debate refusal is about “fairness to all candidates and issues” is based on nothing other than pure, unadulterated greed. After all, why would the DNC want to host a debate that might anger their new fossil fuel donors?

As much as they might like us to forget the matter and move on, the fact remains that a significant majority of the presidential candidates, including every single one of the frontrunners, has expressed their willingness and even desire to participate in a climate change centered debate. Frankly, the pressure has built to such a point that I would argue the candidates really have nothing to lose by participating. Those with absolutely no chance at the nomination who participated in an unsanctioned debate or town hall and risked being barred from future events would be seen almost as a martyr to the cause. And as for the frontrunners, the idea that the DNC would bar them is absolutely laughable.

Now is not the time to give up.

Now is the time to continue to apply the ever mounting pressure, and make sure some kind of real climate debate, or a town hall with multiple candidates on the stage actually happens. While so many of us are struggling to wrap our heads around the crisis at hand, these events and the dialogue they produce are the first steps in dealing with it. We cannot allow profits and repulsive greed of a few to stifle the will of the people, and none of us who care about humanity and the planet should stop pushing for this debate until it happens.

Lauren Martinchek

Written by

Lauren is a writer & leftist with analysis on topics related to politics & policy. She can be reached at LaurenMartinchek@gmail.com or Twitter @xlauren_mx

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