Talk about going from bad to worse, or perhaps bad, to better, to worse, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) has announced that the upcoming fourth Democratic debate, which will air on CNN from Ohio, will take place on one night. This decision is a change from previous guidelines which said that if more than 10 candidates qualify, the event would be split over two nights.
For audiences already irritated with 10 candidates on stage, you’ll now get the pleasure of 12 candidates on stage talking over each other in October.
Watch On: CNN
Date: Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019
Time: 8 pm ET (5 pm PT)
Location: Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio
Moderators: Anderson Cooper, Erin Burnett, and Marc Lacey
Why change to one night? It’s fairly simple. The DNC does not want to divide up the top contenders and risk the controversy from the appearance of an “undercard” or less important night:
The CNN/New York Times Democratic presidential debate in October will occur on one night, the Democratic National Committee told campaigns Friday.
“To address several inquiries we have received we are writing to let you know that, pending a final decision after the certification deadline, it is the intention of the DNC and our media partners to hold the October debate over one night on Tuesday October 15th,” the DNC wrote in an email Friday morning.
There’s also the issue of television ratings that networks may be concerned with. In the first two debates, the ratings for the second night, which is where Joe Biden landed both times, was higher than the first night. At this point, the DNC argues, why bother splitting the field and causing candidates to complain about getting stuck on the undercard night without the top candidates.
A DNC official said several factors were taken into account in deciding to focus on one night.
“Our goal has always been to expand viewership, and we also believe that one night worked well for this last debate,” said the official, speaking on background.
It looks like the 12 candidates on the list are where this debate will max out. This will be a big stage, even by modern debate standards:
The full candidate list includes Former Vice President Joe Biden, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, California Sen. Kamala Harris, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, businessman Tom Steyer, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, businessman Andrew Yang, and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.
Obviously Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren will be the two center podiums, flanked probably by Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg on either side.
For viewers weary of 12 candidates, you may want to skip the October debate and wait for November, when there may be as few as 5 candidates on stage.