Given the massive number of candidates who will be seeking the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, the party is going to have to deal with very crowded debates. After all, you can’t fit 20 to 30 people on one stage.

Instead of having two tiers of candidates like the GOP did in 2016, the DNC has a different plan.

Alex Thompson reports at Politico:

Perez nixes ‘undercard’ debates for 2020 primary

With the prospect of upward of 20 Democrats running for president in 2020, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez announced on Thursday that the party would split up candidates by random selection and host debates on consecutive nights if there were too many candidates.

The decision will allow the DNC to avoid attempting to fit the expected bumper crop of candidates on one stage or sorting debate appearance by polling numbers.

Perez said he didn’t want any voters to feel that the party was toying with the debate or debate schedule to help out certain candidates. “The critical imperative is making sure everyone feels their candidate got a fair shot,” Perez said. He said the logistics of dealing with so many candidates is a “first-class challenge to have.” The committee did not say how many candidates constituted too many for one stage.

Here’s the proposed schedule:

The DNC chairman also told reporters that the DNC would be hosting twelve debates during the 2020 primary with the first two being held in June and July of 2019. There will be a total of six in 2019 and six in 2020.

Professor Jacobson recently commented about this on Twitter:

This is not going to be a quick and easy process. Many Democrats think Trump will be vulnerable in 2020 and the prospect of being the one who can bring him down is too enticing for anyone to walk away without a fight.

Josh Kraushaar writes at National Journal:

Prepare for a Long, Chaotic Presidential Primary Fight

One of the top Democratic pollsters, Mark Mellman, wrote a thought-provoking column in The Hill predicting a speedy conclusion to the nomination fight—even with the presence of dozens of prospective candidates. Mellman anticipates that the 2020 primary process will look awfully similar to the bouts of primaries past, with a front-runner emerging after the February Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary. “That intense burst of positive publicity is sufficient to fuel the rise of any candidate, while those who fail to partake in the victor’s spoils never catch up,” Mellman writes.

If Mellman is right, he’s betting on history over the emerging dynamics of this large, unpredictable field. But the huge roster of credible candidates, the presence of Democratic nomination rules allocating delegates proportionally, and a drawn-out calendar with ample early voting all suggest that the 2020 process will be a never-ending mess.

Kraushaar cites six reasons why the battle will be long-fought but this one could provide the most conflict:

2. With a massive field, candidates will play to niche constituencies at the expense of a national message. Without a juggernaut in the field and a limited pool of financial resources, many candidates will focus on their strengths and limit their scope to a handful of favorable states. So Cory Booker could skip Iowa and New Hampshire to make a bet on the African-American vote in South Carolina, Kamala Harris could make a home-state play in California, and a blue-collar candidate (like Sherrod Brown) may decide it’s worth waiting until March 10 to make a Midwestern pitch for Michigan and Ohio. Candidates trying to win a narrow niche of the electorate usually are unsuccessful, but the dynamic will be different with such a large field.

With such a large field, there is a greater possibility for the party to splinter into different factions. Wouldn’t it be a shame if one or two candidates decided to run third party?

Featured image via YouTube.


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