According to new reports, the DNC is now requiring the presence of at least one female moderator at all sanctioned debates for the upcoming 2020 election.
A senior adviser with the DNC recently confirmed that “all 12 DNC sanctioned debates will feature a diverse group of moderators and panelists, including women and people of color.”
With the 2020 election drawing rapidly nearer, Democrats have continuously focused on race and gender, causing further turmoil within the already-fractured party.
Now, for candidates such as Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, and Beto O’Rourke, their party’s fixation with identity politics may prove to be a challenge.
“The DNC is committed to an inclusive and fair debate process,” DNC senior adviser Mary Beth Cahill told Refinery29. “That means that all 12 DNC sanctioned debates will feature a diverse group of moderators and panelists including women and people of color, ensuring that the conversations reflect the concerns of all Americans.”
To our knowledge, this is the first time the DNC has made this type of rule. The majority of moderators in the 2008 and 2016
Democratic primaries were men, with some events moderated by a lone anchor, such as CNN’s Anderson Cooper or Wolf Blitzer — although the 2016 cycle was more inclusive, with journalists such as Martha Raddatz and the late Gwen Ifill asking the candidates questions. Taking the additional step of a requirement will help ensure that a variety of perspectives and issues, such as child-care costs
, paid family leave, and maternal mortality
, are represented in the debates.
The DNC has announced 12 presidential primary debates over the course of the 2020 election cycle — and there are so many Democratic candidates (24 major ones
last we counted) that it has to split up at least the first couple among two nights. The first debate
will be held on June 26 and 27 and hosted by NBC, in partnership with MSNBC and Telemundo. The second will be held on July 30 and 31 and hosted by CNN. The third will be held on September 12 (and potentially September 13, depending on how many candidates go out Hunger Games
-style) and hosted by ABC News in partnership with Univision. All of the debates will be livestreamed for free online.
In order to narrow the large field of candidates, the DNC announced Wednesday that it has raised the threshold to qualify for the third debate. To qualify for the first and second debates, for which there’s a 20-person cap, candidates need to register 1% or more support in three polls, or receive donations from at least 65,000 individual donors and a minimum of 200 unique donors per state in at least 20 states. (Here’s where it gets tricky: If more than 20 candidates clear those qualifications, the participants will be chosen using a methodology that favors those who tick both boxes.) But to qualify for the third and fourth debates, candidates will need to both: register 2% or more support in four polls, and get 130,000 unique donors and a minimum of 400 unique donors per state in at least 20 states.
While some have questioned whether the DNC’s requirements are fair metrics for inclusion
on the debate stage, DNC Chair Tom Perez says the thresholds were developed to make sure candidates keep grassroots support top of mind. “That was designed with an understanding that if you want to win the presidency, you’ve got to have a grassroots strategy,” Perez told Vox