Tonight, CNN is subjecting the world to seven hours of town hall programming, featuring the Democratic presidential field. Each of the 10 approved contestants have 40 minutes or so to field questions about climate change from audience members and assorted CNN moderators.
With Dorian doing his worst as he works his way up the Atlantic Coast, the topic is extra timely. For those who don’t have the desire or capability to view all or most of the festivities, sound bites will circulate for the next couple of days, along with punditry galore.
This should fill the rest of the week. By next week, it’s time to think about the debate, which is next Thursday in Houston. These two events will take up most of the oxygen on the Democratic side for the first half of the month.
The same ten candidates are invited to each. Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker, Andrew Yang, Beto O’Rourke, Julian Castro, and Amy Klobuchar. This isn’t an accident.
DNC rules are responsible for the regular debate qualifiers. The national committee is also opposed to any non-sanctioned debates. That’s why the CNN Climate Change Town Hall isn’t a debate on climate change, as suggested by Jay Inslee, back when he still existed.
Other codicils, fine print, and poison pills made it impossible for CNN to invite anyone to their event that didn’t qualify for the official debate. Originally, Harris wasn’t going to participate in the town hall. Then her team decided blowing off the climate event to appear at high-end fundraisers might not be the best optics.
It’s easy to reach the conclusion only these ten candidates matter. Nobody else will get any national bandwidth anytime soon. With the race having a clear polling front-runner, a clear top three, and only five candidates consistently polling around or above five percent, it feels like ten candidates is still too many, not too few.
Almost all of the polls released in the past few weeks are national. No other candidate is consistently pulling more than 1%. If they were, they’d have qualified for the debates and town hall.
But this hides what’s happening in the early voting states. Morning Consult recently released a survey. In addition to national numbers, they broke out combined results for Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina.
Continue reading “This is Still a 12 Pack”