I say “of course” not because seven hours of progressives lecturing you about your carbon footprint sounds not just punitive but draconian. Or, for that matter, because a seven-hour series of lectures on *any* policy topic, particularly by self-serving candidates for high office, is destined to be insufferable.

I say “of course” because CNN is almost always last in the evening ratings. Of course their climate-change series finished last. It was a day ending in “y.”

Here’s the funny part: This endless grueling slog through familiar Democratic talking points about sustainability actually rated higher than CNN’s regular primetime programming. Something as didactic as Elizabeth Warren riffing about windmills drew more viewers than Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon, and Chris Cuomo exploring the hottest news of the day. Maybe CNN should start airing insurance seminars at night. Ratings might improve.

CNN averaged 1.1 million viewers from 5 p.m. to midnight, the hours devoted to back-to-back town halls by 10 Democratic contenders.

MSNBC finished second with 1.7 million total viewers during the time period, with Fox News winning the time period with an average of 2.5 million. Both channels provided regular programming on Wednesday night…

During the 8 p.m.-11 p.m. hours of prime time, Fox News averaged 3.2 million total viewers, placing first. MSNBC was second with a 2.2 million average and CNN third with 1.4 million.

However the average 1.4 million tuning in to CNN for the event was well above its average in primetime in 2019.

“In fairness to Biden, everyone who is watching this has blood coming out of their eyes,” said Stephen “redsteeze” Miller while it was airing.

No way to know which way the viewing audience leaned but this point made me laugh too because it jibes with my own experience on social media today:

Did righties hate-watch it, for outrage fuel in the “I can’t believe how crazy these people are!” vein? Democratic voters have heard this shtick from their candidates ad nauseam for months. Why would they watch? Unless it was for the same reason that CNN aired the event — not because they wanted to, exactly, but because they concluded that being a responsible public citizen requires at least formally registering concern about this issue.

The problem with climate-change chitchat from lefties is that it turns the appeal of their basic ideological pitch on its head. Democrats spend most of their time telling voters what they’re going to give them — free health care and forgiveness of student loan debt for starters, along with 50 other forms of redistribution. Right, those things aren’t technically free since they require new taxes to fund them, but don’t you worry. Rich people have a limitless supply of wealth that can be expropriated, or so we’re told. On climate change the Democratic pitch is the opposite: You’re going to have to make sacrifices, some big and some very small, for the common good. And in many ways that common good won’t be visible to you in terms of concrete improvements. Change your diet, change your transportation, socialize the economy, and maybe we can preserve America’s coastlines roughly in their current shape for awhile. Provided Europe, China, and India agree to tighten their own belts too.

If modern Americans were willing to radically change their lifestyle expectations in return for long-term sustainability, we would have had a serious national conversation long ago about America’s ability to fund its most popular government programs. It’s precisely because politicians risk ruin by tinkering with those expectations, in fact, that even minor climate-change proposals like banning straws get such attention on the right. A proposal like that drives home in a trivial but real way that sacrifices will have to be made down to the micro level to implement the Democratic agenda. You, personally, are going to feel it. Andrew Yang, easily the most likable Democrat left in the race, told a national audience last night that not only would cars powered by fossil fuels need to be phased out, the feds might have to institute a buyback program to get current models off the road. Who’s paying for that? How’s that idea going to play in the midwest? Good luck, progressives.

The buzziest clip from the event that’s online today didn’t come from the townhall itself but from Pete Buttigieg’s follow-up appearance on CNN this morning, in which he reminded burger-lovers that they’re part of the problem. He didn’t dwell on it, and if you’re familiar with Democratic climate-change arguments there’s nothing surprising about what he said. Shrinking the country’s carbon footprint means shrinking the meat industry’s considerable carbon footprint. The clip is circulating, though, because it’s efficient shorthand for how the progressive agenda would deprive average people of even simple pleasures to achieve its ideological goals. Would these green clerics who zip around the country on private jets really snatch the Whopper out of your hands in the name of saving the polar bears? We’ll see.