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Why a Climate Debate Is a Terrible Idea

Why a Climate Debate Is a Terrible Idea

The first Democratic debate, June 27, 2019.
Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Climate activists have been lobbying Democrats for months to hold a debate dedicated to climate change. Gizmodo and the New Republic are following through on this by staging a “climate summit” for the candidates, who would be given the chance to appear one by one and answer questions about their plans to address climate change. (Interest groups routinely hold events like this.) They have, however, publicly declared their intent to turn the event into the full-scale debate many green activists desire.

The case for a climate debate is simple: Climate change poses a planetary emergency, and candidates have given the issue too little attention in their campaigns in general, and at the first debate in particular, in proportion to its significance. The problem with this case is that it fails to anticipate what happens next.

A singular climate debate only serves its purpose if every faction within the Democratic Party agrees that climate change uniquely merits a dedicated debate. But progressive activists are unlikely to accept this. The nature of the party is that it is divided into activist nodes organized around singular issues or groups. What happens when activists request a debate on racism? Inequality? Health care? Gun violence? Voting rights? Abortion rights? Immigration?

Once Democrats have broken the seal, the pressure to expand the number of single-issue debates would be intense and continuous. Saying no to any particular cause after having already agreed to elevating another cause would be untenable. Can you really imagine the party standing behind the position that racism is not important enough to merit its own debate, but climate change is? I cannot. The endpoint would be a proliferation of single-issue debates that negates the entire point of elevating climate change to begin with.

There are ways to elevate the profile of climate change as an issue within the campaign. Rather than treating the mere 15 minutes of climate discussion in the first round as a failure, proving the futility of the general-issue debate format, activists might consider it a starting point from which they could lobby for more. The demand for a singular climate debate is a demand that, if accepted, nearly everybody in the Democratic Party would come to regret.

Why a Climate Debate Is a Terrible Idea

Infighting for everyone!

Rep. Lacy Clay just unloaded on @AOC , her chief of staff and Justice Democrats in the Speaker’s Lobby, calls them “juvenile,” says “their ignorance is beyond belief”: “You’re getting push back so you resort to using the race card? Unbelievable.”

@JonEasley

jeffrey epstein

Epstein’s Lawyers Say Not Giving Him Bail Would Be Anti-Rich Discrimination

By Benjamin Hart

Hasn’t the guy been through enough already?


satire

To Win Red States, Dems Must Move Right – Then Left – Then Apologize

By Eric Levitz

Amy McGrath took two different positions on Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation in a single day. That’s the kind of spinelessness Kentucky voters crave.

jeffrey epstein

What We Learned From James Patterson’s Jeffrey Epstein Book

By Adam K. Raymond

According to Filthy Rich, Epstein has odd physical characteristics, used a camera hidden in a clock, and rejected a 23-year-old as too old.


the national interest

the national interest

Why a Climate Debate Is a Terrible Idea

By Jonathan Chait

Once you start with the single-issue debates, there’s no end.

A big win, even if nefarious maneuvers are likely around the corner

EXCLUSIVE: Pres. Trump is expected to announce he is backing down from his effort to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census, and will instead instruct the Commerce Department to get the data through other means, sources tell @ABC News. https://t.co/uj8bbAlMUy

@ABC

vision 2020

Why Are Governors Doing So Poorly in the 2020 Race?

By Ed Kilgore

In reality, the governors-run-best assumption hasn’t been accurate for years. And many senators in the race have other things going for them.

Will Epstein get another swanky, rich-person deal?

New: Jeffrey Epstein’s lawyers have proposed a bail package that would put him in home detention – at his UES residence, one of the largest in Manhattan, & valued at $77M, per court docs – and have him monitored electronically by GPS. He would also agree to deregister his jet.

@eorden

Another member of “the squad” weighs in

Asked Ayanna Pressley if she agrees with AOC. “In my district we have had 18 shootings since July 3rd, I’m heading into oversight and a child trauma hearing I’ve been advocating for. .. I’m not giving this any more oxygen.” She wouldn’t answer whether she still supports Pelosi

@mkraju

The AOC-Pelosi tensions certainly don’t seem to be abating

Just asked @aoc if she stands by her comment that Pelosi singles out women of color. “Well I think it’s really just pointing out a pattern, right? We’re not talking just about progressives, it’s singling out four individuals and knowing the media environment we’re operating in..”

@mkraju

A note of caution on today’s census announcement from a law professor

Careful about those expectations of what Trump’ll do today. He won’t defy a court order, nor issue an executive order directing the Bureau to add the question. Eventually, Sec. Ross will issue a new directive with a new rationale, and *that* will be subject to legal challenge.

@marty_lederman

Buttigieg, struggling mightily to win over black voters, unveils bold policy proposal

Countering skeptics who doubt he can win crucial African American voters in the 2020 Democratic primary, Buttigieg rolled out the details of his plan to combat systemic racial inequality, named for legendary abolitionist Frederick Douglass, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

“If you’re a white candidate, it is twice as important for you to be talking about racial inequity and not just describing the problem — which is fashionable in politics — but actually talking about what we’re going to do about it and describing the outcomes we’re trying to solve for,” Buttigieg told NPR.

His “Douglass Plan” aims to establish a $10 billion fund for black entrepreneurs over five years, invest $25 billion in historically black colleges, legalize marijuana, expunge past drug convictions, reduce the prison population by half and pass a new Voting Rights Act to further empower the federal government to ensure voting access.

Not what the state needs

AP: Louisiana braces for slow-moving possible weekend hurricane

@JesseRodriguez

Another way in which Epstein skirted the law

Convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein never once checked in with city cops in the eight-plus years since a Manhattan judge ordered him to do so every 90 days — and the NYPD says it’s fine with that.

After being labeled a worst-of-the-worst, “Level 3” sex offender in 2011, Epstein should have reported in person to verify his address 34 times before he was arrested Saturday on federal child sex-trafficking charges.

But the NYPD hasn’t required the multimillionaire financier — who owns a $77 million Upper East Side townhouse — to check in since he registered as a sex offender in New York over the controversial 2008 plea bargain he struck in Florida amid allegations he sexually abused scores of underage girls in his Palm Beach mansion.

Not an auspicious beginning for the McGrath campaign

Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Amy McGrath flip-flopped on supporting Justice Brett Kavanaugh in the span of several hours Wednesday.

McGrath, who announced a challenge to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell this week, tweeted that she would have opposed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination several hours after she told a local newspaper she probably would have supported him.

“I was asked earlier today about Judge Brett Kavanaugh and I answered based upon his qualifications to be on the Supreme Court. But upon further reflection and further understanding of his record, I would have voted no,” McGrath tweeted Wednesday evening.

Later she added: “I know I disappointed many today with my initial answer on how I would have voted on Brett Kavanaugh. I will make mistakes and always own up to them. The priority is defeating Mitch McConnell.”

Trump’s latest census maneuver is likely to run into the same kind of problems as the last one did

JUST IN: President Trump expected to take executive action to put citizenship question on 2020 census, but this move is expected to face immediate legal challenges and Administration officials have expressed skepticism about viability of this path. @CBSNews

@PaulaReidCBS

the law

Acosta’s Legal Explanation for Epstein’s Plea Deal Doesn’t Add Up

By Barbara McQuade

As a former U.S. Attorney, I found the Labor secretary’s defense woefully inadequate. Now, a state prosecutor claims he’s trying to “rewrite history.”

Trump’s deportation sweep is back on

Nationwide raids to arrest thousands of members of undocumented families have been scheduled to begin Sunday, according to two current and one former homeland security officials, moving forward with a rapidly changing operation, the final details of which remain in flux. The operation, backed by President Trump, had been postponed, partly because of resistance among officials at his own immigration agency.

The raids, which will be conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement over multiple days, will include “collateral” deportations, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the preliminary stage of the operation. In those deportations, the authorities might detain immigrants who happened to be on the scene, even though they were not targets of the raids.

When possible, family members who are arrested together will be held in family detention centers in Texas and Pennsylvania. But because of space limitations, some might end up staying in hotel rooms until their travel documents can be prepared. ICE’s goal is to deport the families as quickly as possible.

The officials said ICE agents were targeting at least 2,000 immigrants who have been ordered deported — some as a result of their failure to appear in court — but who remain in the country illegally. The operation is expected to take place in at least 10 major cities.

the top line

It’s Time to Stop This Ridiculous Hotel Pricing Practice

By Josh Barro

“Resort fees” and “destination fees” are used to mislead consumers about room rates. Washington, D.C., is suing to keep operators honest.

Trump’s media diet isn’t exactly healthy, but there’s potential for it to get worse after this

President Donald Trump is scheduled to host several right-wing internet personalities at an event Thursday that the White House said was intended to “share how they have been affected by bias online.”

While the Trump administration has generally embraced the far-right social media sphere, Thursday’s event will be one of the first to bring that digital ecosystem into the real world. Disinformation researchers who spoke with NBC News said the event further legitimizes a network of social media personalities who repeatedly target politicians and social media users with disinformation, trolling and harassment campaigns.

Conspiracy theorist Bill Mitchell, an online radio host and frequent guest on Infowars who has promoted the Qanon conspiracy theory, has tweeted that he will attend the event. Tim Pool, a YouTube personality who has pushed the false conspiracy theory that former Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich leaked hacked emails to WikiLeaks, also plans to attend the event.

Right-wing commentator Ali Alexanderalso received an invitation. Alexander made headlines in recent weeks for questioning Kamala Harris’s ethnicity in a tweet that was retweeted by Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son. Harris was born in Oakland, Calif., and her father and mother are immigrants from Jamaica and India, respectively.

jeffrey epstein

Everything We Know About Jeffrey Epstein’s Private ‘Pedophile Island’

By Matt Stieb

All the mysterious details, from the security guards to the Japanese bathhouse — and the temple that appears to lock from the outside.


2020 democratic primaries

2020 democratic primaries

Where Does the Democratic Primary Race Stand Now?

By Jonathan Chait, Benjamin Hart, and Ed Kilgore

Intelligencer staffers discuss the current state of the endless horserace.


alexandria ocasio-cortez

alexandria ocasio-cortez

AOC Is Making Monetary Policy Cool (and Political) Again

By Eric Levitz

On Wednesday, Ocasio-Cortez got Fed chair Jerome Powell to admit that the central bank has been far too complacent about unemployment.

Unsurprisingly, the guy Acosta blamed for everything does not agree with the Labor Secretary’s version of events

BREAKING / NBC News: Former Palm Beach State Attorney Barry Krischer says in a statement that Alex Acosta is “completely wrong.”

He says a 53 page federal indictment “was abandoned after secret negotiations between Mr. Epstein’s lawyers and Mr. Acosta. ” (h/t @MikeDelMoro )

@Tom_Winter

politics

What Does Nancy Pelosi Think She’s Doing?

By Sarah Jones

The Speaker of the House needs to give people a reason to vote for her party. She isn’t.


jeffrey epstein

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta Defends His Role in Jeffrey Epstein Case

By Adam K. Raymond

In a press conference Wednesday, Acosta said were it not for his office, Epstein would have walked free.

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