As a person who knows little to nothing about all forms of sports, my version of the Olympics will be the 2020 election's presidential debates. But instead of medals, the winner gets to be the President of the United States of America! (Personally, right now, I'd rather have the medal.)
And since this is the year that everyone and their mother decided they wanted to run to be the Democratic candidate for President of The United States—I can't really blame anyone for wanting to take over the job from its current holder—the Democratic National Committee has announced plans to hold 12 debates during the 2020 presidential primary.
The first two debates are slotted for June and July of 2019, and then one debate in each of September, October, November and December of that year. We'll have another six debates in 2020, with the final debate taking place in April, around two months before the Democratic National Convention in July 2020.
I mean, I was thinking they were going to do this Bachelor Bracket-style (I told you, I know nothing about sports) but I guess this works.
According to DNC Chair Tom Perez, none of the 2019 debates will be held in the states that hold early primaries and causes like Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, but rather would take place in the lead-up to their respective contests in 2020.
The DNC did not offer any specific dates or debate sponsors in terms of information, or ever the standard to which they will use to determine entry into the debates. But the chairman did share that the DNC will initially consider more elements, such as grassroots fundraising, rather than just polling to determine the standards for qualifying for the first few debates. Oh—and anticipating a large and varied field of candidates, Perez also offered the idea of holding debates on consecutive nights and randomly dividing the field for the first two.
"We will likely have a large field of candidates...We expect that large field, and we welcome that large field," Perez said to CNN. "Accommodating a large field of such qualified candidates is a first-class challenge to have." The chairman also added that be believed "random assignment is the fairest way to give everybody that opportunity to make their voices heard and articulate what they are standing for."
So, why is this happening? Because in 2016, the DNC was accused of bias against Senator Bernie Sanders and former Governor Martin O'Malley by taking steps that were perceived to protect former Secretary of State and then-presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
The DNC is trying to give every candidate a chance to show their platform to voters while "also avoiding weakening the eventual nominee for the general election." The plan came about after consulting with Democratic politicians, strategists and activists, including former and current advisers to Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders, as well as potential media partners, according to the DNC. However, they did not consult with any potential 2020 nominees or their aides, in order to avoid any perception of bias.
Now, this debate plan is one of many moves put in place by the DNC in order to rebuild what seemed to be broken, and Perez himself has said that the DNC hopes to make the debate process more transparent going into 2020 and "ensure that no candidate participating in our presidential nominating process gains any unfair advantage—real or perceived—during our primary season."
Let's get ready to rumble! (They should open each debate with Jock Jams. DNC, call me.)
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