Republicans have been working on ways to cut down what was over 20 primary debates in 2012 down to a manageable number with more limitations on moderators and media outlets presenting the debates. It now appears that many within the Democratic Party are having similar thoughts.
Report from Reuters:
Some veterans of Democratic presidential campaigns believe that their party, which will have no incumbent running in 2016, would be well advised to follow the Republicans’ lead in limiting the number of same-party debates.
During the early stages of a primary, such debates can benefit candidates who have little chance of winning their party’s nomination, much less a general election.
The Republicans’ primary season last year often was a race to show which candidate could please the party’s most conservative members, resulting in situations that analysts said wound up hurting Romney in the November election.
At a September 2011 debate, the crowd booed a question from a gay soldier about the military’s policy that had excluded openly gay soldiers. Some of the most stinging attacks on Romney’s background as a wealthy private equity executive were given their earliest airings by fellow Republicans in debates.
Democratic strategist Tad Devine, who advised John Kerry and Al Gore in their presidential campaigns, said that Democrats likely will try to limit their debates in the 2016 campaign.
“That’s a reform that the Democrats will join in,” Devine said.
Debates give lesser known candidates a big national stage to garner attention and donations. By limiting the number of debates, this will be a boon to the big-name, establishment-backed candidates on both sides. The parties are seeking to minimize collateral damage on the debate stage which isn’t surprising given the sheer number of debates we witnessed on the GOP side in 2012.