Over the weekend, Hillary Clinton signaled that she’s willing to participate in more Democratic primary debates. “I am open to whatever the DNC decides to set up,” she said. “That’s their decision…. I debated a lot in 2008, and I certainly would be there with lots of enthusiasm and energy if they decide to add more debates, and I think that’s the message a lot of people are sending their way.”
Clinton was responding to mounting frustration with a debate process that rival candidates Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders have described as “undemocratic” and “rigged.” Eight years ago, Clinton and Barack Obama, along with other Democratic candidates, faced off in nine debates before Labor Day. In the 2016 election cycle, however, the Democratic National Committee planned to limit the number of debates to just six overall and four before the early primaries in February. With the green light from Clinton, a DNC source now tells me that the party will move to put more debates on the calendar.
According to the conventional wisdom, DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz designed the light debate schedule for Clinton’s protection. With fewer debates, the thinking went, other Democratic candidates would have a harder time gaining momentum in the polls, allowing Clinton to wrap up the nomination more quickly. And a shorter primary would mean fewer opportunities for Clinton to make unscripted blunders that Republicans could use against her in the general election.
Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.