Democrats' Plan All-Night Climate Change Talkathon

Democrats are ripping a page from Ted Cruz’s playbook. No, they aren’t insulting war heroes or using Dr. Seuss books to disprove their own arguments. They are, however, launching an all-night talkathon intended to put the spotlight on an issue near and dear to their hearts. The topic: Climate change.

“It's time to stop acting like those who ignore this crisis — the oil baron Koch brothers and their allies in Congress — have a valid point of view,” Majority Leader Harry Reid said Monday night, kicking off the non-filibuster. “But despite overwhelming scientific evidence and overwhelming public opinion, climate change deniers still exist. They exist in this country and in this Congress.”

The event is the brainchild of Senators Brian Schatz and Sheldon Whitehouse, but around 28 Senate Democrats plan to speak at some point during the night. Democrats aren’t blocking, or promoting, any one particular piece of legislation; their goal is merely to draw attention to the issue of climate change and, in a best-case scenario, encourage the rest of Congress to act. Ever the Twitter-savvy group, the Senators created the hashtag #Up4Climate to track the event.

So, how does this stack up to Cruz’s non-filibuster? Well, on the one hand, having 28 Senators take turns speaking isn’t quite as impressive as having one lone Senator stand up and talk for a day straight; on the other hand, fighting for climate change legislation is infinitely more noble than fighting to strip people of health insurance. Sadly, the Democrats’ talkathon will most likely have the same effect as Cruz’s non-filibuster, which is to say that it won’t have any effect at all. Even if, through some miracle, the Senate managed to scrounge up 60 votes for climate change legislation, the chances of the GOP-controlled House of Representatives passing it are roughly zero.

However, the talkathon has yielded at least one material benefit in the form of this truly wonderful Huffington Post headline, so we’re going to count it as a preliminary success.