The Democratic Party’s decision to limit presidential primary debates to a paltry six drew the ire of non-Hillary candidates and delegates alike.
O’Malley and Sanders vocally opposed the meager debate schedule, delegates in New Hampshire shouted “we want debates” at DNC Chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and candidates considering extra-DNC sanctioned debates were told they’d be ineligible for future DNC debates should they go rogue.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, three of the last four debates were scheduled on the weekend. Last night’s NBC/YouTube debate was scheduled up against two NFL playoff games and Downton Abbey (a PBS favorite).
It’s almost like the DNC is trying to tuck their presidential debates away in plain sight.
CNN’s Brian Stelter prodded DNC Chairwoman Wasserman Shultz on the limited weekend-only debate schedule. Wasserman Shultz claimed other candidate forums, like the one held on Fusion last week, are meant to draw national exposure in lieu of more debates. Stelter expressed his frustration with incredibly low ratings in other candidate forums saying, “I feel like your all’s [sic] voices aren’t getting heard the way the could be if there were more of these events.”
“I did my best to make sure, along with my staff and along with our debate partners, to come up with a schedule that we felt was going … to maximize the opportunity for voters to see our candidates,” said Wasserman Schultz. Contradicting herself, she then suggested voters would have a better opportunity to see candidates in person, saying “pulling them off the campaign trail every other day to prepare for a debate,” isn’t the direction they wanted to go this election cycle.
The most obvious problem with the no-debate scheme? It’s not working. Particularly not if the desired outcome was to protect Hillary.
MSNBC host Chris Hayes pointed out:
The decision to limit the Democratic debates to 6, many buried on weekends, has proven to be terrible for Clinton.
— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) January 16, 2016
Hillary performs better on the debate stage where her scripted responses and well rehearsed one-liners mask her lack of personality. On small-stage voter forums, Clinton appears clunky, awkward, and very much like a stereotypical politician — an image she’s struggled to shake (See also: the disaster that was the Fusion forum).
As Hillary’s investigative woes worsen, she’s deprived the national primetime spotlight to explain her case and directly address voter concerns. In 45 seconds, Ted Cruz effectively laid to rest the New York Times Goldman Sachs loan hubbub before millions of curious viewers in last week’s Republican debate. Clinton has no such opportunity.
Because they’re not getting answers from Hillary Clinton during primetime, viewers are turning to Google for help deciphering Hillary’s scandallacious dealings. During Sunday’s Democratic presidential primary debate, the top trending question on Google’s search enginges was “Will Hillary Clinton get prosecuted?”
The Hill reported:
Two of the top five questions relating to Clinton implicitly concern the FBI investigation into the private email server she used as secretary of State.
The other question is “what did Hillary Clinton do that is illegal?”
Using a crummy debate schedule to protect Hillary has done exactly the opposite.
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