May 24, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Pressure grows for a Democratic climate debate

This image is a two way split screen of Elizabeth Warren and Jay Inslee.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. Photos: Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto and Scott Olson via Getty Images

We know 2020 Democrats are debating how to tackle climate change — but now there's growing pressure to have them do it on the actual debate stage.

Driving the news: 3 Democratic senators on Thursday wrote to NBC, host of the first primary debate in late June, urging them to devote a "significant" amount of time to climate.

  • "There are many ways to address the climate crisis, and voters want to know what policies each candidate supports," Sens. Brian Schatz, Sheldon Whitehouse and Martin Heinrich wrote.
  • The letter cites polls showing high primary voter interest.

Our thought bubble: NBC did not provide comment. And I don't really expect the network to say, "Sure, no problem, we'll let 3 senators dictate how we run our debate."

  • Yes, but: I think NBC is likely to include questions on the topic. And I bet we will see more than just glancing discussion in other debates too, a turnaround from past elections when it was largely absent.

The intrigue: 2020 hopeful Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is pushing the Democratic National Committee to set up a debate focused solely on climate. Sen. Elizabeth Warren backs the idea of a climate debate too, but the DNC has not endorsed it.

Go deeper: Climate change is a massive issue for Democrats in 2020

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