Last night, FOX news hosted the first GOP primary debate, pitting the top 10 candidates for the Republican Presidential nomination against each other to compare the candidates’ views and plans. While there was ample time given during the two-hour forum to the issues of healthcare, foreign policy, and the economy, one subject in particular was not mentioned even in passing: climate change.
The question that many environmentalists are asking today is: was it intentional? Essentially, was leaving climate change out planned as to signal that the GOP does not acknowledge climate change? After all, Govs. Chris Christie and John Kasich were the only candidates on the “prime-time” stage who publicly acknowledge climate change as a real phenomenon. The explanation could be softened to a criticism of the venue: FOX chose not to ask the candidates about climate change because they knew that the candidates didn’t want to address it.
To those who follow GOP politics, neither explanation would be surprising. While all of the Democratic candidates for President acknowledge climate change is real and caused by our actions, GOP voices of reason are drowned out beneath cries of “hoax” and “contrived, phony mess”. Sen. Lindsey Graham, the first in the 2016 GOP race to acknowledge climate change and plan to address it as President, did not make the cut to be in the “prime-time” debate–he faced off against the other six less popular candidates in an earlier debate. Christie and Kasich combined hold about 4% of the Republican vote, dwarfed in comparison to Donald Trump’s 24% and Jeb Bush’s 13%.
To me, the evidence is clear: if you believe that climate change is real and a product of our actions, and you want a leader that will act to slow or stop its dangerous effects on our habitat, the GOP is likely not the way to vote in 2016.