As we head into the first democratic party primary debate of the 2016 race for President, some within the party are questioning why there are going to be “only” six debates between these candidates, when the republican party is having eleven debates of its own. A handful of liberals have even begun to rather loudly suggest that the debate schedule is some kind of conspiracy aimed at suppressing one candidate or another. But for a rather straightforward reason, here’s why six democratic debates are enough.
For reference let’s briefly look at the republican side. They’re holding eleven debates. They also started with roughly twenty candidates. Their first few debates have been so crowded that they don’t all fit on the stage at the same time. Most of their candidates, even the frontrunners, are getting relatively little speaking time during each debate. They’ll want their final two or three debates to be between just their two or three final candidates, so they need eleven of them to continue thinning the herd.
The democratic side is a far different story. Tonight’s first debate will have just five candidates. Three of them are so irrelevant, almost no one has heard of them. This will be an opportunity for Martin O’Malley, Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb to use free national airtime to try to get their message to connect in a way that they couldn’t pull off on their own. After two or three debates, each of the three of them will have either skyrocketed in the rolls and become contenders, or far more likely, dropped out entirely. And that’s when we get to real meat of it.
It means the final two or three democratic party debates will be between just the two most viable candidates in the party: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders (and if he enters the race, Joe Biden). And in the mean time, with just five people on stage tonight to begin with, the main two candidates will each get plenty of opportunity to debate each other directly. The bottom line is that because they have far fewer candidates to begin with, it’ll only take the democrats six debates to get to the same point that it’ll take the republicans eleven debates to get to.
Despite the protests of some folks who seemingly want the democratic party to lengthen the debate schedule so as to give their preferred candidate as much free airtime as possible, there’s no conspiracy here. Six democratic debates is just common sense. Anyone who can’t get their message to resonate by then doesn’t belong in the race anyway. If you enjoy Daily News Bin, consider making a contribution: