The DNC has scheduled 6 debates for the 2016 presidential run, 77% less than the 26 debates we had for 2008. Not only that, but the number of DNC debates is only half of the 12 debates scheduled by the RNC. And while the RNC debates started this month, the DNC debates won't begin until October. This is a problem, not just for the democratic candidates (including Hillary Clinton), but for all democratic across the nation, voters and representatives alike.
(1) More debates contributed to much higher voter turnout among young people during the 2008 presidential run. Having fewer debates risks a close-vote election, where it may be a struggle not only in electing a Democrat for president but also the election of Democrats in Congressional and state elections — where Republicans have gained considerable ground.
(2) Early and frequent primary debates bring people’s attention to the fact that there is going to be a primary election in the first place, and so they are more likely to register to vote in time for both the primary and the general election. Having so few debates and having them start so late risks the chance that less people may turn out to vote Democrat.
(3) Inter-party debates, and more debates in general, give voters the opportunity to see where all the Democratic candidates stand on different issues, and how their positions contrast with those of the Republicans. This helps undecided voters determine what they care about and who they might prefer to support in the general election. But now, we have two months and twice as many debates where the American people are hearing Republican voices. If that's what they're hearing most often, who do you think they are more likely to vote for?
(4) Inter-party debates also provide the opportunity for conservative Democrats to distinguish their brand with that of the Republican field. Republicans and independents who lean conservative might be receptive to what Democrats like Chafee and Webb (who both defected from the Republican Party) have to say. Providing more debates increases the changes for some Republicans to vote Democrat in the election.
(5) More debates means more of a chance for debates to take place in neglected, more conservative-leaning states, like Texas, Mississippi, Utah, Wyoming, West Virginia, and Kentucky. Bernie Sanders has had a lot of success campaigning in deep red states that have historically been ignored by Democrats. There's opportunity to capture voters there that the DNC is neglecting with their current debate struggle.
(6) More debates increase the chance of having single-issue debates, which gives candidates the chance to present innovative ideas that policy makers and the future presidential candidate might be able to learn from. For example, the debate over healthcare in the Democratic primary was definitely a huge reason that Obama decided to prioritize Health Care reform at all. If we want to elect a president who works for the people, we need more debates so important issues held by the American people are heard.
(7) More debates help the Democratic candidate become comfortable and practiced enough with debating to be able to hold their own against the Republican challenger in the general election.
(8) There is widespread Democratic party support for a competitive primary. This Bloomberg Poll says that 72 percent of independents and Democrats think a robust primary would benefit the Democratic Party.
(9) Failing to have as many debates as the RNC is going to concede a lot of press coverage to the Republicans. This elevates the policy suggestions and all around press coverage of the Republican candidates at the expense of Democrats. With fewer debates, the Democratic party isn't going to have as loud a voice as the Republican party this primary season.
(10) Debates give control over the dialogue to the candidates. With fewer debates, the media will instead opt to report on gaffes and small controversies. They've had some success assassinating Clinton's character and misleading the public about Sanders' ideology, and that will only become more and more exaggerated unless the DNC gives people like Clinton and Sanders the opportunity to wrest control of that perception away from those biased sources.
*This list was edited from the #WeWantDebate Push post on Reddit.
It's apparent that the DNC's decision to have fewer and later debates this presidential election is grievous mistake. If want the Democrats to win not only the presidential election (regardless of which candidate you support), but also Congressional and state elections, we NEED more debate.
What can I do?
Call the DNC at 202-863-800 and tell them you want more debate. You can also email them through this form. Find the DNC on Twitter and Facebook and use the hashtag #WeWantDebate. Sign the petition for more debate.
More Twitter handles to contact:
@DWStweets (DNC Chair, D Wasserman Schultz)
@TulsiGabbard (DNC Vice Chair, Tulsi Gabbard)
@HollyShulman (DNC spokesperson)
Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley have both called on the DNC to increase the number of debates. Ask Lincoln Chafee, Jim Webb, and Hillary Clinton to do the same.
When using social media, use hashtags for all the candidates to draw attention to the issue:
Other hashtags to consider:
Spread the word about why #WeWantDebate and how to join as far as you can!
+ Comment on FB groups and pages supporting any candidate.
+ Follow the previously listed hashtags on twitter and reply to supporters.
+ Comment on online articles talking about the DNC and GOP debates,
+ Find and contact your state and local democrat groups (FB, Twitter, and online).
+ Comment on youtube videos
Join and share the FB event and/or upvote and follow the subreddit (where you can also find suggestions on what to tweet). Share this blog post wherever you can.
What if I don't have a Twitter Account?
You can make one. Or, if you'd rather not, you can still help spread the word. Do all the steps you can given above!
UPDATE 8/9/15: Added petition link