Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL) appeared to get a little annoyed with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer when he questioned her about the limited number of Democratic presidential debates:
Blitzer: Are you adding any more Democratic presidential debates, or are the limited number you have now, is that set in concrete?
Wasserman Schultz: We have a combination of candidate forums and debates, and we are continuing to add candidate forums to our schedule, and we have our six debates that are scheduled already.
Blitzer: So no more debates but just candidate forums, where individuals are interviewed one-on-one, but there’s no real debate between the candidates, So you’re going to stick with that format. Debbie Wasserman–
Wasserman Schultz: We’re giving them a variety of opportunities to see our candidates while preserving their ability to be out on the campaign trail, so that they can get up close and personal with voters.
Wasserman Schultz has been criticized for the debate schedule by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley—both of whom are challenging Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination—as well as by the DNC vice-chairwoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI). They have good reason to criticize her. There have been only two debates—a third will take place tomorrow night—and only one has been on a weeknight. The sole Saturday debate attracted fewer than nine million viewers. Tomorrow night’s debate probably won’t be much better, coming during the Christmas season and airing on Saturday evening—a vast TV wasteland except during college football and basketball season.
The DNC may want to protect Hillary, but as The New York Times’ Frank Bruni wrote, the limited debate schedule “smacks of special treatment” for Clinton and leaves her vulnerable to being seen by voters as “political royalty,” and not in touch with everyday Americans.
That attitude might doom her candidacy, as voters are expressing a disdain for political insiders. And when it comes to political insiders, there is none bigger in either party’s race for the White House than Hillary Clinton.