Election 2020 Open Thread: Be Careful What You Wish For, Climate Debate Edition

Every interested party will watch their candidate, and only their candidate; every campaign (plus the RNC and all its dark-money donors) will assign intern(s) to watch all the other candidates’ interviews, looking for soundbites to take out of context. Joy.

Ten Democratic presidential hopefuls will appear in New York at back-to-back town halls on Wednesday, September 4, taking audience questions about their climate plans as scientists sound the alarm about global warming.

Along with the candidates, the network also announced the CNN journalists and the approximate appearance times for the presidential hopefuls during the seven-hour, live event…

CNN previously announced that Chief Climate Correspondent Bill Weir will join in the questioning throughout the evening.

A CNN poll conducted in late April showed that 96% of Democrats favored taking aggressive action to slow the effects of climate change. And Democratic activists in recent weeks have sought to elevate the issue, urging candidates to make climate change a priority…

Or then again, one or more candidates will provide answers so stunning in their brilliance that all existing rankings will be overturned, and the Sunshine Movement will focus their attention on getting that candidate elected. (Now *you* tell one.)

95 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    Obviously, no one is going to watch all seven hours, but this is the type of thing the news should be focused on.

  2. 2
    Mary G says:

    Just reading the schedule makes me tired.

  3. 3

    @Baud: So you’re assigning an intern for the task.

  4. 4

    This is a thousand times better than transmitting Trump’s rallies live.

  5. 5
    Gin & Tonic says:

    I was briefly behind a car today with a Trump 2020 bumper sticker and an “Ivanka 2024” sticker. I am living in a country populated by cretins.

  6. 6
  7. 7

    @Cheryl Rofer: I’m sure Trump will have a rally during the Town Hall and CNN will dutifully cut away to it.

  8. 8

    @Baud: You are providing free Jolt Cola to keep them awake?

  9. 9
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: They still make that?

  10. 10
    Matt McIrvin says:

    Having this thing is the Democrats’ greatest mistake, unless it gets cancelled, in which case not having it is the Democrats’ greatest mistake.

  11. 11
    Baud says:


    I would never deprive anyone of sleep.

  12. 12
    Baud says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    Ah, The Democratic Creed.

  13. 13
    Mandalay says:

    There’s something very unfortunate about the timing of this, happening just days after Jay Inslee quit the race.

    OTOH, no Gillibrand, de Blasio or Gabbard, so it’s not all bad news.

  14. 14

    @Gin & Tonic: Apparently so, you can get it on Amazon.

    @Baud: I’m reconsidering my support for Baud!2020!.

  15. 15
    Baud says:


    You’re anti-sleep?

  16. 16

    @Baud: I’ve been called a zombie.

  17. 17
    mrmoshpotato says:

    At least 3 of those people should end their campaigns.

    Glad I don’t have cable.

  18. 18

    I mentioned that when the kid arrived back from Chicago, she found a kitten had taken up residence under the hood of her car. She has named the cat and is now a cat owner.

  19. 19
    Mary G says:

    Once I thought about it more, it’s good that they participate individually rather than a debate format where they accuse each other of being hypocrites who fly by private plane and were seen drinking from plastic straws at the Iowa State Fair.

    Cheryl tweeted this interview with the professor who called BretBedBug.

    So the fact that Stephens emailed the provost — that undercut his assertion that he wanted to have a conversation?

    Right. He was trying to make clear his social standing, and trying to make sure that the provost knew that one of his professors was offending somebody at The New York Times. I think this comes down to the Spider-Man principle: With great power comes great responsibility. He has social power as an op-ed columnist at the Times. He knows that, and in sending this message, he is trying to exploit that to scare people into not saying mean things about him on the internet. First of all, strategically, that’s not how the internet works. Second of all, ethically, there is a responsibility that comes with having that perch at the Times.

    And if he’s doing this to me, it means that he would also be doing this to an assistant professor or to an adjunct professor. If he can’t take that responsibility seriously, then he shouldn’t have that social power.

    I wasn’t scared of this because I have tenure, and I’m confident that I did nothing wrong. But if this had come to me a few years ago, when I didn’t have tenure, I would have been terrified. Because you don’t really want to get on the provost’s radar as the person who’s offended a columnist at The New York Times. If Stephens had sent me this email then, I would have been far more reticent to share the experience because I wouldn’t know how that would affect going up for tenure. When you’re in that position of still having to fear for your job, you’re naturally more cautious in what you’re willing to say.

  20. 20
    Betty says:

    The audience is going to ask questions for seven hours?

  21. 21
    Baud says:


    Baud! 2020! prefers “living challenged.” #Dignity

  22. 22
    chris says:

    No System of Government Designed by Human Beings Can Survive What the Climate Crisis Will Bring Link

    This has been stuck in my head ever since Charlie Pierce wrote it.

  23. 23
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    This is a thousand times better than transmitting Trump’s rallies live.

    True. I’ll give ’em that.

    But will Dump schedule a Nuremberg rally for that night? Can he shout bullshit for 7 hours without having a heart attack?

  24. 24

    @Baud: So is that how we’re supposed to refer to David Koch? He said it’s really hot down there.

  25. 25
    zhena gogolia says:

    I thought somebody said Harris was skipping it.

  26. 26
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Did you have time to open your window before puking?

  27. 27
  28. 28
    Baud says:


    Baud! 2020! prefers “greedy asshole.”

  29. 29
    Baud says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    She’s not on the list.

  30. 30
    jl says:

    @Baud: ” Unpaid Intern. ”

    Baud 2020! suckered someone into doing work and not even getting supermarket coupons?
    Is that the guy who went to Reno a few months ago to double the campaign funds and hasn’t been heard from since?

  31. 31

    @Baud: She’s on the list in the OP.

  32. 32
    Baud says:


    Oops. Completely missed her. Then I don’t know what’s changed.

  33. 33
    laura says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: she is now ” owned by a cat.”

  34. 34
    Ajabu says:

    >OT but- latest poll is:
    Sanders- 20%
    Warren- 20%
    Biden – 19%
    What the fuck is Wilmer doing in the lead??? Are they even polling Democrats?

  35. 35
    Spanky says:


    Can he shout bullshit for 7 hours without having a heart attack?

    The only way to know is for him to try it. Anyone want to place bets on when he quits or strokes out?

  36. 36
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Did she name it Chicago? Are you blaming her trip to my fair city? :)

  37. 37
    Baud says:


    I call them Patriot Interns.

  38. 38
    Baud says:

    @Ajabu: outlier.

  39. 39
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Are you sure Dump wouldn’t sweat himself to death?

  40. 40


    Did she name it Chicago?

    No, Lexi Bumpy Lightning McQueen.

    Are you blaming her trip to my fair city?

    Well, she probably would have been driving her car otherwise; so yes, in a way.

    She seems happy with her new feline companion(here mother was also adopted by a cat), and has even bought it a new toy.

  41. 41

    @laura: Yup, just like her mom with her Mabel.

  42. 42
    PST says:

    The Republicans will have someone present at every appearance of every candidate in every podunk town, so I don’t really worry that this climate town hall will provide the magic sound bite. There will be plenty of out-of-context clips; that’s just part of the reality candidates have to deal with now. The more people hear our candidates—all of them—the more they can draw a contrast with Trump. I think in general they come off well. We can be proud of them and need not fear exposure.

  43. 43

    @mrmoshpotato: No, but it’ll be fun to test out that theory.

  44. 44
    Ruviana says:

    @jl: So someone there shot him just to watch him die?

  45. 45
  46. 46
    guachi says:

    @Ajabu: It’s just one poll. It’s the only poll I’m aware of that show he is in the lead. Though Sanders has been doing well lately. I keep a running average of the last 10 polls and the latest number is his best he’s had as far back as early June (which is as far back as I go).

    Biden is slowly trending down after slowly trending up after the first debate.
    Sanders is the best he’s been and is veeerrrrrryyyy slowly trending up.
    Warren has been more or less slowly trending up for the last three months.
    Harris has lost all of the bump she got after the first debate.
    Buttigieg trended down until late June and has bounced between 5-5.5 since then.

    No one else really matters.

    The top 5 candidates have consistently drawn about 70% of the total in all polls (64-89%, but there’s no trend). It’ll be interesting to see where that 30% goes once everyone else drops out.

  47. 47
    Jeffro says:

    OMFG, what a fucking waste of time, all to provide CNN and the GOP with out-of-context scare quotes.

    Dem candidates, here’s my proposal: at the start of your time, speak straight to the camera for no more than 3 minutes, outlining no more than 5 major steps you’d take as president towards mitigating climate change. At the end of the three minutes, tell the TV audience you are now giving up the rest of your time so that they can catch up with their family members, grab a snack or dinner, knock out some chores around the house, and donate to Obama’s and Holder’s voter-protection/anti-gerrymandering efforts. Blow a kiss at the camera and walk the hell off the stage. Seriously.

    Either that or show up with some nice posterboard displays of how the Kochs pay off the GOP so that they can make a gazillion dollars burning every last bit of carbon on Earth, regardless of the cost to human society. And then just keep flipping through the displays/charts over and over for 40 straight minutes. You can go all “Luther, the Anger Translator” if you feel so moved.

    Make. Some. News. This is totally stupid otherwise.

  48. 48
    Jeffro says:

    @Jeffro: I mean, for Pete’s sake, trumpov is reacting to the G-7 talking about climate change by…pushing for even more logging in the Tongass National Forest.

    The Amazon is burning, but apparently we aren’t losing trees fast enough. And these Dem knuckleheads are going to cough up 40 minutes’ worth of earnest, bad quotes about just how many trillions it will take to ‘solve’ climate change, and “do they agree with Bernie Sanders’ plan? Why not?” and so. much. bullshit.

    Seriously, this is dumb. If you’re gonna participate, you might as well make headlines. 3 minutes and out, or stick it to the Kochs/GOP. Up to you guys!

  49. 49

    @Gin & Tonic: Well at least we have a vibrant and effective opposition party and civil society that hasn’t embraced fascism.

  50. 50

    DETAILS for our seven-hour @CNN Climate Crisis Town Hall event on Sept. 4:


    For every news article I’ve been exposed to so many times of CPAC and the rotten filth of soulless criminals spouting that bullshit, SEVEN HOURS OF CLIMATE CHANGE IN YOUR FACE.

    @Cheryl Rofer: Indeed.

  51. 51
    Gravenstone says:

    I remember when Bill Weir broke in as the somewhat ‘goofy’ weekend weather guy and special features reporter for the Green Bay Fox affiliate. Boy’s moved up in the world.

    Eta: guess my memory has gone south. He was a sports reporter here, not weather.

  52. 52
    Redshift says:

    Every interested party will watch their candidate, and only their candidate; every campaign (plus the RNC and all its dark-money donors) will assign intern(s) to watch all the other candidates’ interviews, looking for soundbites to take out of context. Joy.

    FFS, do you want to go back to the “New Democrat” era, when Dems were sure if they worded things just right, Republicans wouldn’t be able to attack them!

    They are already lying out their asses and saying Democrats want to get rid of planes and kill all cows. If any candidates says anything that rises above that noise, they should drop out, but it doesn’t mean they should hide from talking about climate policy.

  53. 53
  54. 54
    AThornton says:

    @Mary G:

    When you’re in that position of still having to fear for your job, you’re naturally more cautious in what you’re willing to say.

    Hauling people* into the cop house and beating them in the kidneys for doing something the powerful don’t like is Old School. This is the New School for Social Control.

  55. 55

    @Gravenstone: Our weather guy’s an actual stand up comedian.

  56. 56
    mrmoshpotato says:


    Well, she probably would have been driving her car otherwise; so yes, in a way.

    LOL She visited under her own free will. :P

  57. 57
    Jay says:


    Africa and Siberia are burning just as bad as the Amazon.

  58. 58
    zhena gogolia says:

    Please tell me we’re not going to nominate Sanders. Please.

  59. 59
    rikyrah says:

    This is a waste of time😒😒

  60. 60

    @zhena gogolia: We’re not going to nominate Sanders.

  61. 61
    Jay says:


    Didn’t work, BedBug got taken to the woodshed, so did the FTFNYT and MSNBC.

  62. 62
    AThornton says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    I doubt we’re going to nominate Sanders. After all the exposure he’s had over the last 5 years he’d be doing better than 20% if we were.

  63. 63

  64. 64
    zhena gogolia says:


    I hope you’re sincere and not just blindly following orders.

    That said, I hereby order you to tell me we’re not going to nominate Sanders.

  65. 65
    Jay says:


    It’s going to be 4x the coverage of Climate Change than CNN has spent time on over the past year.

    Funny that, the greatest global challenge and crisis the world is facing, and CNN so far has spent less than a hour and 45 minutes on the subject, in total coverage.

  66. 66
    zhena gogolia says:


    I’m sure their ratings go down when they talk about it. It’s terrifying and any individual person feels powerless to do anything about it. So nobody wants to hear about it. I include myself in that, to be honest.

  67. 67
    M31 says:

    I want someone to get up there and say “All we have to do is make the wealthy pay their taxes, have Exxon will make less profit, and we’ll all live in a much better world”

  68. 68
    M31 says:

    I also want someone to hold up the bloody head of that other Koch brother and say ‘CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW, MOTHERFUCKERS?’

  69. 69
    Jeffro says:

    @Jay: They are indeed. Would still like to see the Koch=>$$$=>GOP=>no action on climate change charts for 40 straight minutes by 1 candidate rather than a mention of Africa and Siberia by every candidate.

    I think I will start a pool with my RWNJ brother and dad to see which Dem gets pilloried out-of-context the worst…we’ll break it down by cable news channel to keep it interesting.

    My picks are:
    CNN: Biden
    MSNBC: Sanders
    FOX: Warren/Harris (tie)
    CNBC: Warren, definitely
    OANN: The Squad (I know they’re not in the ‘town halls’; doesn’t matter)

    Sept 4th is mid-week so the Sunday shows are going to be a stretch to keep this alive, but I have faith in their ability to put up 3-5 Republicans each to comment on how the Dems are going to bankrupt us the day after the election to the tune of $5,411-whatever-comes-after-trillion

  70. 70

    @zhena gogolia: we’re not going to nominate Sanders

  71. 71
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: There is a reason some of us have staff.

  72. 72
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Ajabu: And the very next day, that poll was superceded:

    Was working on a post about reading & misreading polls, but there is TOO MUCH NEWS these days…

  73. 73
    zhena gogolia says:


    Thank you!

  74. 74
    zhena gogolia says:

    I can’t believe Harris isn’t doing better. I like her so much better than all the others.

  75. 75
    Omnes Omnibus says:


    Prosecuting Counsel: Constable, will you please tell the court in your own words what happened?

    Constable: Oh yes! (refers to his notebook) I was proceeding in a northerly direction up Alitalia Street when I saw the deceased (points at Njorl) standing at an upstairs window, baring her bosom at the general public. She then took off her … wait a tick. Wrong story. (refers to his notebook) Ho yes! There were three nuns in a railway compartment and the ticket inspector says to one of them. (the superintendent shakes his head) No, anyway I clearly saw the deceased…

    Clerk: Defendant.

    Constable: Defendant! Sorry. Sorry, Super. I clearly saw the defendant … doing whatever he’s accused of…Red-handed. When kicked… he said: ‘It’s a fair … cop, I done it all … Right… no doubt about… that’. Then, bound as he was to the chair, he assaulted myself and three other constables while bouncing around the cell. The end.

  76. 76
    Anne Laurie says:

    @zhena gogolia: Possibly a spoiler, but:

    Note that little circle pattern, between Warren & Biden? The people who liked Sanders in May still like Sanders, although some of them had doubts for a while. The people who liked other candidates are more fluid in their choices, but Sanders isn’t taking votes from other candidates, at least at the moment. He has a hard ‘floor’ — and an even harder #NeverBernie ceiling.

  77. 77
    Jay says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    The Tyee has about 457,000 more views than CBC British Columbia, ( and fundraises off that), because of 4 key subjects.

    – Climate Change,
    – The Environment,
    – Indigenous issues,
    – Homelessness and the Downtown East Side.

    Funny that. The Tyee’s readership skews about 15 years younger than the CBC British Columbia’s, but they are willing to pay out of pocket for what they read, where the CBC is tax funded.

    CNN probably doesn’t spend much time on Climate Change, because they don’t have journalists (stenographers and pundits), and because it’s really hard to “both sides” the hell out of Climate Change.

    So, they will do a blurb on Thunanburg or Climate Strikes in an “awwwww, arn’t the kids cute!!!!”.

    Climate Change is a hell of a lot scarier than Iranians under your bed, ISIL in your closet and what’s under your sink that can kill you,

    So, fear isn’t the reason.

    No more than most of the US doesn’t mention race, inequality, etc.

    Or Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Mali, Nigeria, Somalia, Yemen,…………etc.

    Almost like the 17+ wars of choice all over now,…..

  78. 78
    trollhattan says:

    Does this mean CNN is waging war on CSPAN? And my local public access cable channel?

  79. 79

    @Omnes Omnibus: Some of us can’t even afford unpaid staff.

  80. 80
    trollhattan says:

    @Anne Laurie:
    I can see Little Round Top! “Wheel”

    Also, too, is “Micah Cohen” Michael Cohen’s prison name? “Yo Micah, how’s the pruno going?”

  81. 81
    Jay says:


    Ain’t much planting this year either in the Farm Belt, a lot of it is still underwater. For others, no gap between flood season and heatwave in which to plant. For others, about a million acres of topsoils now in the Gulf of Mexico.

    A tropical storm is making landfall in Puerto Rico, most residents still have blue FEMA tarps from 2 years ago, and Orangemandius is stripping FEMA of funds for Wall.

    If you havn’t noticed over the past while, the MSM/ReThugs will lie, feign outrage, feign concern, no mater what a Democratic Party Memer says. That’s why the kool kids go to social media to get it straight from the horses mouth.

  82. 82
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: I am demanding feudal service from my neighbors.

  83. 83
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @trollhattan: But can you see Russia from your house?

  84. 84
    Jay says:

    8/24/19 – A Portland police officer provides Patriot Prayer's Joey Gibson with police intel that antifascists were discussing his unannounced march on social media and offers to provide Gibson with a free security detail for the unpermitted march. He laughs with Gibson. pic.twitter.com/K9kG6qPltI— Grifts Gone Wild (@leftkist) August 27, 2019

  85. 85
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    This is such bullshit. What is needed is a round table discussion of what to do about climate change with an actual moderator, not a vile Village shitstain like Jake Tapper who’s there to create drama so Jeff Zucker can make his three Maserati payments next mont.

  86. 86
    Jay says:

    On August 17, this grandfather followed Portland Police Bureau's instructions to take his grandkids to OMSI (a local science museum) instead of joining The Spectacle. Then Portland police put his family directly in the path of a hate group, and left them. https://t.co/spCvU5GNq9— (Pop)ular (Mob)ilization (@PopMobPDX) August 26, 2019

  87. 87
    Jay says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Who was it again who decided that the League of Women Voters wern’t good enough?

  88. 88
    Jay says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    You didn’t “hereby”, so it’s invalid.

  89. 89
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Jay: Both the Rethugs and the Dems. Damn them.

  90. 90
    Ramalama says:

    @Gin & Tonic: What kind of car was it (that had the Ivanka sticker)?

  91. 91
    Jay says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    So the calls are coming from inside the house?

    As far as I can tell, the DNC and DCC control the primary Debates.

    Funny that.

    Except for this “outside” the DNC debate, that the DNC has tried to stop from happening, at all.

  92. 92
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Ramalama: An Assholemobile.

  93. 93
    Redshift says:

    @Jay: Must be nice to believe that the machinations of evil people are the cause of failings of the news media.

    Chris Hayes has related in multiple different interviews in his podcast that he would love to do more climate change coverage, but it is an absolute ratings killer, both when he did a special about it and on his regular show. And sure, CNN is probably less motivated to swim against the tide to cover important stories that make them less money, but the fact is that the main reason they aren’t covering it is our sucky ad-supported media, not some news director sucking up to business interests.

  94. 94
    Procopius says:

    @zhena gogolia: I’m sorry to have to tell you, we’re not going to nominate Sanders. The fact that he’s in the lead now is evidence of it.

  95. 95
    zhena gogolia says:


    Even with the outlier poll, he’s not very much in the lead, I’m sorry to have to tell you.

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