On a recent walk with my soon-to-be wife, I was commenting at how perplexed I was that the Democratic Party was not being more aggressive in generating the same type of excitement for the Democratic primaries as there currently is for the GOP primaries. I was aghast at the fact that the GOP debates were all set and finalized (the first one being tonight), and the Democrats hadn’t even released their debate schedule. However, the Democratic Party finally heard my complaints and released their debate schedule today. It is currently scheduled as follows (H/T Gabriel Debenedetti & Dylan Byers @ POLITICO):
“A total of six debates are scheduled, with six different sponsors: Oct. 13 in Nevada (hosted by CNN); Nov. 14 in Des Moines, Iowa (CBS/KCCI and The Des Moines Register); Dec. 19 in Manchester, New Hampshire (ABC/WMUR); Jan. 17 in Charleston, South Carolina (NBC/Congressional Black Caucus Institute); and two scheduled for either February or March in Miami, Florida, and Wisconsin, hosted by Univision/The Washington Post and PBS, respectively.”
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) was smart to schedule the first debate in Nevada. As the Latino-American population continues to grow at a rapid pace (the total Latino population in the state is now somewhere around 25-30%), the state of Nevada becomes increasingly more difficult for Republicans to win in a presidential election (to be fair, in 2000 and 2004 Nevada was won by former President George W. Bush). As I’ve previously said, the DNC was right to follow the RNC’s lead by limiting the debate number to six, as we’ve already seen the consequences of having too many debates (it turns into a clown show).
However, I’m still concerned about the lack of excitement on the Democratic side of the presidential ticket. I understand that the DNC probably thinks it’s smart to keep a low profile while the GOP is stricken with a serious case of Trump fever. Furthermore, the DNC probably wants to give a reasonable amount of time for Vice President Joe Biden to decide whether or not he wants to jump in the 2016 race (which I do not think is a good idea). However, as Hilary’s favorability ratings continue to slide and current second-place contender Bernie Sanders continues to only trim at the margins, there is a serious question as to whether or not the party can get the new coalition of Democratic voters to generate excitement and turnout in 2016.
To be certain, there is plenty of time for Hilary to bump up her favoribility ratings, and it may be that the GOP debates will turn out to be a circus act like they were in 2012, thus making Hilary look like the only serious 2016 contender. Moreover, the demographics in a presidential election turnout do not favor the GOP in the slightest. The good news is that all of the Democratic Party candidates have plenty of time to prep for the upcoming debates. This allows Sanders, Webb, O’Malley and Chafee to mount a serious challenge for the nomination by figuring out a way to stand out in the debates. Unfortunately for them, it also gives Clinton more time to convince voters that she is the inevitable Democratic Party nominee for a reason.