Sustainability Climate Change

Ocasio-Cortez slams South Carolina presidential debate over climate change

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After the loud and fiery Democratic presidential primary debate in South Carolina on Tuesday night, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) took to Twitter to express her concern over the lack of discussion about climate change.  

Current front-runner Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was quick to agree with her, retweeting Ocasio-Cortez’s original observation with his own opinion: 

Candidates spent the 10th Democratic debate primarily taking aim at Sanders, particularly focusing criticism on his recent comments in which he praised some of former Cuban communist leader Fidel Castro’s literacy programs. There was no mention of climate change, unlike the previous debate in Nevada, where candidates discussed the topic for about 15 minutes. 

Multiple polls have shown that influential demographics, including young voters and voters in the Western states of the U.S., are very concerned with environmental and climate change policies going into the 2020 election. Data also show that climate change was one of the top concerns in the Nevada caucus, primarily fueled by Latinx voters, with 86 percent of likely caucusgoers citing climate and environmental protections as “very important” or “most important.”

The New York Times reports that Sanders was able to win Nevada primarily due to support from the same Latinx voters as well as a strong stance on addressing climate change. Of the voters whose most important issue was climate change, Sanders got the plurality 28 percent of votes, per data from Edison Research for the National Election Pool.

Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Sanders for the Democratic nomination in October of 2019.