vision 2020

Climate Candidate Who Proposed Climate Debate Won’t Qualify for Climate Debate

Sorry, Jay. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

In June, a small first-year-of-the-primary controversy flared after Washington governor Jay Inslee proposed a field-wide town hall on climate change and the Democratic National Committee told him that if he participated in an unofficial event focused on the crisis of our time, he would be barred from official DNC debates in the future. In July, the tone of the conversation changed when CNN announced it would host a climate-only debate in New York on September 4 for candidates who made the cut for the next all-issue debate by snagging at least 2 percent in four qualifying polls.

Unfortunately for Inslee — who has proposed a plan for a 100 percent–renewable, zero-emission America by 2035 — it appears unlikely that he will get invited to the debate he proposed, as he hasn’t reached 2 percent in any polls approved by the DNC.

It’s a gutting blow to his candidacy — sort of like if Mike Gravel had failed to qualify for a forum on being digitally controlled by teenagers. At the last two debates, Inslee was unable to achieve a breakout moment in the brief discussions on global warming, and without a ticket to the climate-exclusive event, it’s more likely that he will fall out of the running along with other non-qualifying campaigns.

Though Inslee will be there only in spirit, nine candidates have made the cut for the climate debate: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, and Andrew Yang. However, only eight have agreed to show: Harris will be attending a fundraiser in Los Angeles.

Climate Candidate Won’t Qualify for Climate Debate