Democratic voters will get the Rachel Maddow moderated debate that they wanted in New Hampshire, as the DNC has announced that they will be sanctioning more Democratic primary debates.
In a statement DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said:
Our Democratic candidates have agreed in principle to having the DNC sanction and manage additional debates in our primary schedule, inclusive of New Hampshire this week. However, absent agreement on the details, we will give our campaigns the space to focus on the important work of engaging caucus-goers in Iowa. We will reconvene negotiations and finalize the schedule with the agreement of our campaigns on Tuesday morning.
Any additional debates will be held on top of our existing February 11th debate with PBS News Hour and our March 9th debate with Univision and the Washington Post. We have consistently worked with our campaigns to ensure a schedule that is both robust and allows our candidates to engage with voters in a variety of ways, whether through debates, forums, or town halls, while also leaving them the flexibility to attend county fairs and living room conversations for the direct voter contact that matters so much in the early states. Those principles will continue to guide these negotiations.
The ball got rolling behind additional debates when MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow pressed Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and the DNC on adding more debates. The previous debate schedule, which was modeled after the RNC’s plan to frontload their schedule to help the Republican frontrunner, was a complete disaster. Democratic voters were angry as Wasserman Schultz had set up a debate schedule that buried the Democratic debates on weekends and holidays.
Maddow spent a few weeks pushing the candidates and the DNC to get behind allowing more debates. After Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders started negotiating their own schedule of extra debates, the DNC had no choice but to sanction more debates.
Democrats will not only get their New Hampshire debate on February 4. They will also get additional debates in March, April, and May. An equally large development is that Democrats may also get the Clinton proposed debate in Flint, Michigan.
After months of not being able to get the DNC to budge, it took MSNBC, Rachel Maddow, and the New Hampshire Union Leader to get Democratic voters the debates that they have always deserved. Maddow delivered, and as a bonus, she will get to co-moderate the next debate.
It is an all around win-win for Democratic voters.