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The DNC's Debate Rules Leaves Lesser Known Candidates Scrambling

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    If you were one of the many left-of-center voters who longed for more options in 2016 then you certainly got what you wished for this time around. With over twenty declared major candidates, the Democratic Presidential primary field is the largest in history and there are signs that a number of other prominent politicians are considering throwing their hat in the ring too. That's great news for those in the party who want more choice, but it's not the best news for the lesser known candidates who are supremely qualified to be President, but aren't as well known as former Vice President Joe Biden or Senator Bernie Sanders.

    Enter the DNC. They received their fair share of criticism over their handling of the 2016 Primary and have vowed to do better this time around. However, they probably weren't expecting a movie theater full of candidates throwing their hats in the ring. So, in an attempt to be as fair as possible, they have rolled out a set of rules for the twelve debates they will be holding.

    In order to qualify for the debate a candidate must "either have at least 1 percent support in three qualifying polls, or provide evidence of at least 65,000 individual donations from a minimum of 200 different donors in at least 20 states." The latter rule has some of the lesser known candidates getting creative by calling on their supporters throughout the country to donate as little as $1 to their campaign. Since the DNC's rules don't state how much money those 65,000 individual donors have to give, they could theoretically get on the debate stage with a lot of very little donations.

    I can't help but feel kind of sad for many of the candidates who would be big names in any other election cycle. The field consists of Senators, Governors, and Congresspeople, but many of them are drowned out by the better known names. Only time will tell if any of the lesser known candidates will be able to break through to the public and be taken more seriously.

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    Interesting. I also heard they will be dividing up the candidates into different debates, so you won't see 20+ candidates on the same stage. Instead you'll get 2 or 3 stages of candidates. Wonder if they will be the exact same debates with the same questions? Will they happen on the same day? Also will they try and balance out the big names, like will Bernie and Biden be on the same stage or will they split them up to even out the draw?

    Seems like things will be pretty complicated until the field is narrowed down. Appreciate any insight you and anyone else here can provide on how exactly they plan to execute all this.

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    J.K.Logic Wrote: Will they happen on the same day? Also will they try and balance out the big names, like will Bernie and Biden be on the same stage or will they split them up to even out the draw?

    The DNC has only laid out the rules for the first two debates and they seem to be as fair as they possibly can be. Each candidate that qualified will be randomly selected for a debate. Half will participate one night and the other half will participate the next evening.

    I'm not really sure about the amount of time/number of questions each candidate will get. That's a really tricky one because the big names will expect to be called on more and the lesser known ones see it as their possibly only chance to get in front of a national audience.

    I certainly don't envy the referees over at the DNC.

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    This should be a crazy election cycle at least for the Dems primary race. The count is now 22 candidates and like you said, will probably increase shortly. We will see many candidates drop like flies in the coming months and I agree its crucial they get this debate stage issue right.

    Luckily the internet is bigger than ever so these candidates don't have to rely solely on TV appearances and screen time, but its still the best way to get your campaign message out there to the masses so I sincerely hope the moderators leave their pre-determined biases at the door.