Cable news channels hosting “Town Hall” events with 2020 candidates has become all the rage lately. CNN did several of them over the last two months, almost to the point that they’re hard to keep track of.
Apparently, the events have been ratings winners because CNN is slated to host five more candidates next week. Fox News is even getting in on the town hall action hosting Bernie Sanders on April 15, live from Pennsylvania.
Upcoming Candidate Town Halls
- Tuesday, April 9
-Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (10 pm ET, 7 pm PT)
- Wednesday, April 10
-Gov. Jay Inslee (10 pm ET, 7 pm PT)
- Thursday, April 11
-Julian Castro (10 pm ET, 7 pm PT)
- Sunday, April 14
-Marianne Williamson (7 pm ET, 4 pm PT)
-Andrew Yang (8 pm ET, 5 pm PT)
- Monday, April 15
-Bernie Sanders (6:30 pm ET, 3:30 pm PT)
Bernie’s decision to give time to Fox News didn’t come without criticism from some Democrats, of course:
The announcement that Fox News would host Sanders received some backlash. Ian MIllhiser, a columnist with the liberal news site ThinkProgress, tweeted a link to the release with the comment, “WTF is Bernie doing?”
The Democratic National Committee also released a statement concerning Bernie’s decision to appear on Fox:
“The DNC believes that we must reach all voters, including (the Fox) audience,” said party spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa, who is among the handful of aides to party Chairman Tom Perez coordinating 2020 debate plans. “Candidates should do what they need to do in order to engage these voters directly.”
Well, if they believe they must reach all voters, including viewers of Fox News then why would they ban Fox from hosting any Democratic debates? It’s a sticky situation for the DNC, but Fox says they have more Town Hall events in the works with other Democratic candidates.
On Thursday night, Fox News hosted former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz as a potential independent presidential candidate. Newsweek offers this report on Schultz’s performance and his appeal to voters:
Schultz dove deep into the issues instead of merely scratching the surface. He supports part of the left and part of the right. He also opposes radical ideas from both sides of the political aisle.
He said Democrats and Republicans have radically veered too far left and right, respectively, and that bickering between the two major political parties is at an all-time high.
“I’m 65, and I’ve never witnessed such a divide,” said Schultz, who’s consdiering a presidential run as an independent. “Both parties have gone so far extreme in their ideology.”
He supports strong border protection and funding for immigration enforcement, and he supports higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy. He wants health care for all, but wants 180 million people to keep their private insurance. He is pro-choice when it comes to abortion, and he doesn’t think reparations to descendants of slaves is a correct answer.
Schultz didn’t just draw a thin line in the sand between the left and right Thursday night in Kansas City. He made a strong case for a run as an independent, and he may have even hinted he’s ready to run.
I remain unconvinced that Schultz will pull the trigger on a campaign, but anything is possible in the current political climate. He’s being attacked by Democrats who fear he would hurt their chances against Donald Trump, but analysis shows he would probably end up hurting both parties as his views tend to bridge the political divide on many topics.
If you’re interested in hearing from individual candidates, a Town Hall event will be much more informing than a debate. When given enough time on questions for an hour of so, candidates can offer longer answers and better inform voters about where they stand on the issues.
With the likelihood of 20 or so candidates on a debate stage, voters won’t learn much other than how well each candidate can perform fighting for sheer seconds of time to answer rapid-fire questions.