Open thread for night owls. Nichols: First Democratic debates 'unfair and unfocused spectacles'
John Nichols at The Nation writes—The First Democratic Debates Shape Up as Unfair and Unfocused Spectacles:
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is moving up in the polls, but she won’t get to debate the candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination whom she hopes to displace: Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former vice president Joe Biden. Nor will Warren be on the same stage for the Democratic debates with the candidates who poll just behind her at this point: South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and California Senator Kamala Harris.
The Democratic National Committee on Friday announced the matchups for the two nights of scheduled debates—on Wednesday, June 26, and Thursday, June 27—that could define the rest of the 2020 competition. Unfortunately, the format and approach chosen by the DNC for these first debates creates a chaotic and unequal circumstance that could make the formatting of debates more meaningful than what the candidates actually say.
Biden, Sanders, Buttigieg, and Harris are all on the Thursday-night debate stage, along with Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Colorado Senator John Hickenlooper, California Congressman Eric Swalwell, author Marianne Williamson, and former tech exec Andrew Yang.
What of Warren? She’ll be on the Wednesday stage with former Maryland Congressman John Delaney, Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, and Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan—as well as New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, former housing secretary Julián Castro, former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker.
Here’s one way of looking at things, using the Real Clear Politics average of recent polls: The first debate will feature 10 candidates with combined support of roughly 20 percent of likely primary voters and caucus goers. Warren, who is at 11.8 percent in the Real Clear Politics average, provides the star power. The next-closest Wednesday night contender is O’Rourke, at 3.5 percent.
The second debate will feature 10 candidates with combined support of roughly 65 percent. [...]
OK, how about we take the four hours allotted over two nights and just do a series of 10-minute conversations where individual candidates make their cases in a Q&A setting with Bill Moyers? Or Hasan Minhaj? Or Stacey Abrams?
The DNC is planning for a dozen debates. They’ll eventually get around to predictably awful, standard-format forums. But it would have been so much better if they started with fair and functional discussions where good ideas might matter more than bad formatting. And it is still possible that, going forward, a better approach could be found.
HIGH IMPACT STORIES • THE WEEK'S HIGH IMPACT STORIES
The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
The right of every family to a decent home;
The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
The right to adequate protection the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
The right to a good education.
~~Franklin D. Roosevelt, “The Second Bill of Rights” (January 11, 1944)
TWEET OF THE DAY
xWag the Dog. With such low approval ratings, Trump will do anything to distract the American people. Including putting our military is harm's way for another needless Middle East conflict. https://t.co/YMgxMYD2PF— Andrew Goss Ã¢ÂÂUSAFÃ¢ÂÂ (@Goss30Goss) June 16, 2019
BLAST FROM THE PAST
On this date at Daily Kos in 2005—Okay. Now we know what the Republicans will run on in 2006:
The White House accused Democratic leaders on Wednesday of obstructing President Bush's agenda in a second straight day of combative attacks against the minority party on Capitol Hill.
«I think the American people reject those who simply say no and stand in the way of getting things done,» White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters.
Nevermind that Republicans have the trifecta, with dominant majorities in both chambers of the legislature. What is this obstructionism that we keep hearing about?
So far [Bush] has been unable to gain traction in Congress over his proposals to overhaul Social Security and has had ongoing struggles over energy legislation and the proposed Central American Free Trade Agreement, among other items.
On Social Security in particular, Bush has called on Democrats to offer their own proposals instead of simply attacking his, but the tactic has largely not worked.
Listen, Mr. President, you have the numbers to pass your legislation in the House, but I haven't seen any of it introduced. Heck, I haven't even seen a social security bill from the White House, so I'm not sure what «plan» you're referring to.
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