A worthy question for the next debate

about 4 years ago

We are on the eve of the fourth Republican primary debate, scheduled for tomorrow in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In just 364 days, Americans will make their way to polling booths across the country to vote for the next president of the United States. A year may seem like a long time, especially if you live in a media market flooded with campaign ads and whistle stop café visits. But at the current pace and with so many candidates still vying for the top spot, it may take that long to get complete answers to the top policy questions.

When it comes to specifics, voters would benefit from more substantive questions from the debate moderators. In particular, the three previous debates have not given the candidates much of a forum to talk about climate change. In fact, the first primetime debate didn't mention the issue at all. The second main stage debate targeted climate questions at just two of 11 participating candidates, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (no longer in the race) chiming in. In the final minutes of the third debate came a single climate question —asked again of Christie, one candidate who has repeatedly made his position clear.

The three so-card "undercard" debates, featuring the low polling candidates and televised earlier in the night, have seen more spirited climate policy discussions, though such conversation may be unlikely tomorrow with South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and former New York Gov. George Pataki, two vocal free market climate policy advocates, bumped from participation.

With a focus on business and the economy, tomorrow's debate can and should do better not only to elevate the issue of climate change, but to illicit from the men and woman who want to be the next president what his or her climate change strategy would look like. A question on climate change belongs in the economic debate because the range of possible pollution prevention solutions has real implications on energy markets, U.S. competitiveness, and innovation.

Voters need debate moderators who #dare2ask a specific question to garner a specific response. RepublicEN has one teed up: can free enterprise solve climate change?

We think the resounding answer is yes.