Democratic candidates and voters are expressing their anger and disappointment over the announced schedule of six primary debates.
Here is the Democrats’ debate schedule:
October 13, CNN, Nevada
November 14, CBS/KCCI/Des Moines Register, Des Moines, IA
December 19, ABC/WMUR, Manchester, NH
January 17, NBC/Congressional Black Caucus Institute, Charleston, SC
February or March, Univision/Washington Post, Miami, FL
February or March, PBS, Wisconsin
Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has been lobbying the DNC for months to hold more debates, expressed his disappointment, “I am disappointed, but not surprised, by the debate schedule announced by the Democratic National Committee. At a time when many Americans are demoralized about politics and have given up on the political process, I think it’s imperative that we have as many debates as possible — certainly more than six. I look forward to working with the DNC to see if we can significantly expand the proposed debate schedule.”
Martin O’Malley strategist Bill Hyers blasted the DNC, “By inserting themselves into the debate process, the DNC has ironically made it less democratic. The schedule they have proposed does not give voters—nationally, and especially in early states—ample opportunity to hear from the Democratic candidates for President. If anything, it seems geared toward limiting debate and facilitating a coronation, not promoting a robust debate and primary process. Rather than giving the appearance of rigging the process and cutting off debate, the DNC should take themselves out of the process. They should let individual and truly independent news, political, and community organizations create their own debates and allow the Democratic candidates for President to participate. There is a long, proud tradition of voters in early states like Iowa and New Hampshire getting to hear early and often from candidates for President—the DNC schedule kills that tradition, and we shouldn’t stand for it.”
These types of statements are to be expected from challengers who want to debate the frontrunner as much as possible. According to Politico, the campaign of Hillary Clinton is upset because they want fewer debates. Once again, this is to be expected because frontrunners have more to lose. A giant mistake during a debate could alter the entire campaign.
It isn’t just candidates who are upset about the small number of debates.
Ilya Sheyman of MoveOn.org tweeted:
Voters need vigorous debate on issues. Proposed DNC schedule fails the test, would hurt party, nominee & country. Back to the drawing board.
— Ilya Sheyman (@iSheyman) August 6, 2015
The Democratic schedule is backloaded in an obvious attempt to play down any potential discord. Democratic voters will get one debate a month. The East and West coasts of the country are cut out of the debates. There are loads of problems with this schedule, but the biggest one is that Democratic voters want more. The party would be wise to listen to their supporters and schedule at least two more debates.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association