The Democratic National Committee lost relevancy in 2016 when it was plagued with scandals surrounding the nomination of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic presidential candidate.
When issues as crucial as solving climate change come to the forefront, the GOP loses relevancy, especially with climate change denier Donald Trump as their leader. For Democrats to control the narrative during this election cycle, they must present a clear plan for meeting and surpassing NATO’s timeline for climate change reduction.
Just five minutes and 27 seconds were dedicated to discussing climate change during the 2016 debates, which is one of the main reasons that many candidates petitioned for the DNC to host a climate change debate.
Although the concept of a climate-focused primary debate was backed by a group of Democratic presidential candidates, DNC chair Tom Perez has stated that the committee will not dedicate any debates to any "single issue area," in order to "make sure voters have the ability to hear from candidates on all the issues." This is tragic, as a climate-specific debate would be a way to prioritize global warming as a critical issue in the 2020 election.
Furthermore, the DNC made a decision to ban candidates who participate in a climate change debate. Some suspect that the DNC is trying to protect front-runner Joe Biden’s status. According to Republican strategist Mike McKenna, this decision “is designed specifically to protect Vice President Biden from being exposed either on his right or his left.” Liberal activists doubt Biden’s credibility on environmental issues. His team is currently facing allegations that portions of his climate plan were plagiarized. McKenna also said voters would likely be turned off by a discussion of banning essential fuels, like oil and coal, eliminating millions of jobs and raising energy prices.
Journalist Jay Willis suggests that the Democratic candidates in favor of a climate change debate should “set up a renegade town hall and put it on Facebook or Twitter or YouTube. Go through each individual's plan in detail and remind viewers at every opportunity that the GOP brain trust, which will be in charge if Democrats are not, still thinks climate change is just liberalese for bad weather.”
The DNC’s refusal to back a single-issue debate is unacceptable. New ideas and innovative solutions are sorely needed, yet the DNC is not acting as a vehicle of progressive ideas but rather preserving the status quo.