DNC Chair Tom Perez Files Resolution To Kill Climate Debate

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 14 Aug 2019 14:36:00 GMT

With the August 22nd meeting of the Democratic National Committee fast approaching, DNC chair Tom Perez has filed a resolution to block the establishment of a Democratic presidential debate focused on climate change. Spurred by youth climate activists, nearly every candidate supports such a debate.

The Perez resolution argues that the climate town-hall forums scheduled by CNN and MSNBC for September, in which candidates would be interviewed separately, are a sufficient substitute for a debate.

The resolution concludes:
WHEREAS, Democratic candidates for President of the United States are demonstrating their commitment to tackling the issue of climate change, having already scheduled two televised forums on CNN and MSNBC to discuss the issue, and debating the issue during each of the DNC-sanctioned presidential primary debates;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT, Democrats will address the serious threat of climate change through bold and inclusive solutions that grow the clean energy economy and expand America’s middle class.

Perez was backed by Barack Obama to block environmental-justice leader Keith Ellison from becoming chair.

The full text of the resolution is below:

The following Resolution will be considered by the Resolutions Committee at its meeting in San Francisco, CA on August 22, 2019.

Submitted by: Tom Perez, DNC Chair/Maryland

Resolution Recommitting the Democratic Party to the Work of Combating Climate Change and Creating Jobs by Growing our Clean Energy Economy

WHEREAS, Democrats recognize that climate change is a present, urgent, and growing threat to our economy, our national security, and our future; and

WHEREAS, fighting climate change is both a moral imperative and one of the biggest economic opportunities of our time; and

WHEREAS, workers, communities of color and low-income Americans suffer disproportionately from environmental degradation and climate change; and

WHEREAS, the Trump administration and many Republican lawmakers continue to roll back essential protections for our environment, climate, and public health; and

WHEREAS, President Trump betrayed American workers when he pulled out of the Paris Agreement; and

WHEREAS, Trump promised voters that he would be “the greatest jobs president God ever created!’ and instead opened the door for China to create millions of clean energy jobs that would have otherwise been based in the United States; and

WHEREAS, Trump installed a former coal lobbyist as head of the Environmental Protection Agency; and

WHEREAS, we must protect our planet from the threat of climate change while creating good jobs, raising labor standards, and organizing in clean energy sectors; and

WHEREAS, Democrats are committed to addressing the impact climate change can have on workers, families, and entire communities, while putting millions of Americans hack to work in load-paying union jobs that provide high wages, secure retirements, and safe workplaces: and

WHEREAS, Democratic candidates for President of the United States are demonstrating their commitment to tackling the issue of climate change, having already scheduled two televised forums on CNN and MSNBC to discuss the issue, and debating the issue during each of the DNC-sanctioned presidential primary debates;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT, Democrats will address the serious threat of climate change through bold and inclusive solutions that grow the clean energy economy and expand America’s middle class.

Following the Lead of Other Candidates, Biden Becomes 15th to Call for Climate Debate

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 11 Jun 2019 21:50:00 GMT

Today, Joe Biden became the 15th Democratic candidate for president to call for a climate debate, making a mockery of Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez’s claim such a debate would be “at the request of one candidate.”

Perez was evidently singling out Jay Inslee, who has made climate action a centerpiece of his campaign.

In fact, the demand for a presidential debate focused on climate began with the youth climate activist groups U.S. Youth Climate Strike and Sunrise Movement. Inslee was the first candidate to support their campaign, though over a dozen fellow candidates soon followed suit.

Biden joined the calls for a climate debate in a conversation with a climate activist following a rally today in Ottumwa, Iowa, Greenpeace reports.

Biden is the ninth of the 13 candidates who have fully qualified for the DNC debates to endorse a climate debate.

In a Medium post, Perez—handpicked as chair by Barack Obama to thwart the candidacy of Keith Ellison—pushed back on the growing calls for a climate debate.

“If we change our guidelines at the request of one candidate who has made climate change their campaign’s signature issue, how do we say no to the numerous other requests we’ve had?”

Perez has not indicated specifically what other existential issue a majority of the Democratic candidates for president, spurred by activists, have requested to debate.

Transcript of Biden exchange:

Q: “Should we have a climate change debate?”

BIDEN: “Yeah we should have a climate change debate. We should. That’s what we should be doing.”

Q: “One debate?”

BIDEN: “Yeah.”

Q: “Dedicated to climate change?”

BIDEN: “Yeah, I’m all in. I’m all in, man. Take a look at what I’m talking about. By the way, first climate change plan ever introduced in the United States Congress: Biden.”

Q: “You’re the man. All right.”

Spurred by Youth Climate Activists, Over A Dozen Democratic Candidates Call for Climate Debate - Nixed By DNC

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 10 Jun 2019 12:40:00 GMT

Spurred by teen-aged climate activists, a majority of the Democratic candidates for president have called on the Democratic National Committee to hold a debate focused on climate change.

This week, DNC chair Tom Perez announced no such debate would happen, tweeting that the DNC “will not be holding entire debates on a single issue area – we want to make sure voters have the ability to hear from candidates on all the issues.”

The U.S. Youth Climate Strike, led by a group of teenagers inspired by 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg, has been bird-dogging candidates since April 2019. With the support of MoveOn, the group launched an online petition to the DNC that now has nearly 55,000 signatures. A broad coalition of environmentalist and progressive groups followed suit with a joint petition that now has over 191,000 signatures. A DailyKos petition has an additional 17,000 signatures and counting.

Below is a sourced listing of the 14 Democratic candidates for president who have announced their support for a climate debate and when they did so. Not only is that a majority of the 23 major candidates running for president, the list includes eight of the 14 candidates who have passed the DNC threshold to qualify for their debates (bold below).

Most of the announcements were in response to an in-person request from a U.S. Youth Climate Strike activist, though some were in response to reporter questions.

In their announcement of support for a climate debate, Gabbard and Moulton campaigns called for another debate to focus on national security.

Unlike the 2012 and 2016 elections, most of the Democratic candidates have climate change a central theme of their campaigns, outlining competing visions for transforming the United States toward sustainability and climate justice.

Strangely, DNC spokesperson Xochitl Hinojosa argued the DNC couldn’t host a climate debate because it would favor Jay Inslee, who has made climate the central theme of his presidential campaign. “Once we start allowing one candidate to dictate what the debate is about, we have to say ‘yes’ to all of them on their core issue,” Hinojosa told HuffPost. “Otherwise people would say we are benefiting one candidate. And if we were to have issue-area debates, how do you pick 12 issue areas?”

On Sunday, Perez gave an even more incoherent excuse for refusing to hold a climate debate, the Tampa Bay Times reported. Perez told activists at an event in Orlando: “It’s just not practical. And as someone who worked for Barack Obama, the most remarkable thing about him was his tenacity to multitask, and a president must be able to multitask.”

Perez seems to be confused about the cross-cutting implications of climate change despite his role as the head of the Democratic Party. The 2016 Democratic platform claimed that “Democrats believe that climate change poses a real and urgent threat to our economy, our national security, and our children’s health and futures, and that Americans deserve the jobs and security that come from becoming the clean energy superpower of the 21st century,” and that “Democrats recognize the catastrophic consequences facing our country, our planet, and civilization.”

Update 6/13 Updated to reflect that Kirsten Gillibrand had passed both criteria (polling and contributors) for the debates on Monday.