2016 Presidential Debates: Democrats Bernie Sanders, Martin O'Malley Criticize DNC, Call for More Debates
Democratic presidential candidates are putting pressure on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to increase the number of primary debates.
In early August, the DNC announced six presidential primary debates will occur starting Oct. 13. According to DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, congresswoman for Florida's 23rd Congressional District, the schedule reflects the political party's "diversity and values" and will position Democrats to retain the White House in November 2016. The six Democratic debates are significantly fewer than the 26 debates held for the 2008 Democratic primary season.
Since the DNC's announcement, presidential candidate Martin O'Malley has criticized the DNC for its decision. The criticism continued during the DNC Summer Meeting in Minneapolis, just feet away from Wasserman Schultz. O'Malley said it was a "cynical move" to limit the Democratic Party's debates to six.
"This is totally unprecedented in our Party. This sort of rigged process has never been attempted before," said O'Malley on Friday. "Whose decree is it? Where did it come from? To what end? For what purpose? What National or Party interest does this decree serve? How does this help us tell the story of the last eight years of Democratic progress? How does this promote our Democratic ideas for making wages and household incomes go up again and not down? How does this help us make our case to the people?"
The former Maryland governor acknowledged that only one debate will occur two months before the Iowa caucus, while one in New Hampshire occurs during the December Holiday shopping season. The New Hampshire debate also takes place on a Saturday.
During an interview with New Hampshire's WMUR, O'Malley said he does not know why a debate was scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 19, but believes it will benefit the "inevitable" Democratic front-runner -- likely referring to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
"For my part, I'm going to go to as many debates and forums as I possibly can, as I continue to campaign the New Hampshire way, one living room at a time, one home at a time, one neighborhood at a time. And you're going to see, as people focus in in their search for a new leader who can move us forward, you're going to see us gain traction and you're going to see us do very well, both in Iowa and New Hampshire," continued O'Malley.
Fellow Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said the DNC was “dead wrong” to limit the number of primary debates. The Independent Vermont senator said he loves debates and encourages more debates.
"I have let the leadership of the Democrats know that," said Sanders to CNN. "I think this country benefits, all people benefit, democracy benefits when we have debates and I want to see more them."
Wasserman Schultz was not pleased with requests to increase primary debates. Notably after O'Malley's Minneapolis speech, Wasserman Schultz reportedly thanked O'Malley for his time and simply said "I have more class than that."
The first Democratic presidential debate will be on Oct. 13 in Nevada, a state with a growing Latino population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Nevada's overall population includes 27.5 percent Latinos, higher than the 17.1 percent national average. The first debate will broadcast on CNN.
In a statement in early August, Wasserman Schultz said the six debates will give caucus and primary voters "ample opportunity to hear from our candidates about their vision for our country's future, they will highlight the clear contrast between the values of the Democratic Party which is focused on strengthening the middle class versus Republicans who want to pursue out of touch and out of date policies."
For the latest updates, follow Latin Post's Politics Editor Michael Oleaga on Twitter: @EditorMikeO or contact via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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