Thoughts on the Next Round of Debates


The Number of Participants is Way Down – Now What?

As of Tuesday morning, August 27, 10 candidates have qualified for the September debate(s). There is one more day to qualify. If no one else qualifies, it looks like all 10 will go on for one night. If one or more are added, there will be a drawing to divide them up into two nights, with 6-7 on each night, Some thoughts about all that:

  • Second night crowds tend to be smaller than first nights, but frankly, I would like to see two nights even with 10 candidates. That leaves room for more dialogue and fewer 30 second sound bites, which are often worthless.
  • I feel the pain of those who did not make this cut. They are unlikely to do so in OCT (although one or two may), and that probably is the beginning if the end for them. But it’s time. The standards are not unreasonable, and the Democrats need to get on with defining a platform and the candidates for president and vice president. The longer we run a large field, the harder it will be to consolidate and unify.
  • Any number of candidates have the wherewithal to continue long runs. They should not do that. They almost surely will not get the nomination and if they did, would be risky general candidates. They would do us all a great service in stepping down before the end of the year and endorsing a candidate. I doubt if they will, but it would be great if they did. Could I get the chance to say, Thank you, Bernie Sanders and Tom Steyer?
  • When the field of candidates reduces again, time to switch formats and start doing some Town Hall sessions. These tell us a lot about how the candidates interact with people, a not unimportant consideration.
  • Hickenlooper wasted no time after his campaign ended to declare for the Senate race. Good on him. He can win that one, that is an important factor in the calculus for who runs the Senate, and he will be an excellent addition to the national political scene. Here’s hoping a couple more of the remining candidates take a similar path.
  • I don’t know enough of the facts and background to be as critical as I am inclined to be, but the decision by the Democratic leadership to forego a debate or similar event focused on climate change seems short-sighted and bad politics. I would welcome some sessions on a single theme (environment, security, infrastructure, civil rights, immigration, voting security and access, the economy,…). Would be interesting to know the thinking on this.

See you around the TV in September.

        Bill Clontz

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