The first Republican debate was a ratings victory for Fox News. Perhaps it was the fact that like me, many viewers tuned in just to witness the inevitable drama that erupted between the Fox News hosts and Donald Trump. Currently, the 2016 Republican Primaries have a total of 12 events that were scheduled. Democrats only have half that number.
The limited number of debates are of concern to many people, myself included. Current Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley are among those who think that there are too few debates, and now a movement has started to pressure the DNC on this issue. Senator Sanders had strong words for the DNC on Sunday when appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Via The Hill:
“I think that that is dead wrong and I have let the leadership of the Democrats know that,” Sanders, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”“I think this country benefits, all people benefit, democracy benefits, when we have debates, and I want to see more of them,” he added. “I think that debates are a good thing.”
Sanders said that in addition to officially sanctioned debates from the Democratic Party, candidates running for the White House should also be forced to debate environmental issues before a panel of environmentalists, as well as issues specifically important to young voters and to “working people.”
Sanders’s comments come after critical words from former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), who on Friday accused the DNC of creating a “rigged process” to limit the number of debates to just four before the first round of voting takes place.
“I think it’s a big mistake for us as a party to circle the wagons around the inevitable front-runner,” O’Malley, who is also running for president, said earlier in the week. (Source)
As you may remember, President Obama and Hillary Clinton debated each other 27 times during the 2008 campaign. The DNC does not want to have this happen again, but limiting the debates to just four is a huge over-correction which suggests that party officials like Democratic Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz want to close ranks around Hillary Clinton.
To supporters of other candidates, this is completely unacceptable considering that the debates are a chance for other contenders without the advertising clout to get their message out to potential voters. While Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee are struggling to gain much traction in the polls or the press, Bernie Sanders is surging in the polls and on social media. Currently the Facebook page “We Want Bernie Sanders” has over 190,000 likes and is growing daily.
Hillary Clinton is a good candidate, and that is why the DNC should allow her and the other candidates to face each other in at least twice as many debates as they’ve currently scheduled. Limiting the debates to just four does her, Bernie Sanders, and the other candidates a great disservice – as well as the Democratic Party itself.
If Republicans can make sure that all of their candidates have a chance to make their voices heard, there is no reason that Democrats can’t do the same thing.
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