Will There Be A JV Democratic Debate? The Kids' Table Has Some Empty Seats
On Tuesday, Democratic candidates for presidency in the 2016 race will participate in a televised debate hosted by CNN, but there will not be a JV Democratic debate as there was for both GOP debates in August and September. It's for a very simple reason: only five Democrats will join the debate, as opposed to the 15 Republicans who partook in the last pair of separate debates. Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will be joined by former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee.
You may not have heard much about the last three candidates. The Huffington Post's latest polls as of Wednesday night showed Clinton still dominating with 43.5 percent of the vote. Sanders trails behind with 25.3 percent, and O'Malley, Webb, and Chafee each have about 1 percent. Harvard Law School Professor Lawrence Lessig is also running for president as a Democrat but did not meet the polling minimum of 1 percent between Aug. 1 and Oct. 10, as set by CNN.
As of Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden had not announced his intent to run for president in the 2016 election, and even if he does, he will likely not participate in this first Democratic debate. CNN said it will allow Biden to participate if he announces his candidacy as late as the day of the October debate. Biden has already met the polling minimum even without his stated candidacy. He is, in fact, greatly surpassing that minimum with a reported poll of 20.4 percent.
Before Scott Walker dropped out of the race, declared Republican candidates reached the unusually high number of 17. Because it is simply not feasible to include so many participants in a 90-minute debate, Fox News, sponsor to the first GOP debate in August, issued a cap on the presidential hopefuls. Candidates needed to reach one of the top 10 spots in polls to join the main debate, while the others debated in a less-viewed "kiddie table" event held hours earlier. While Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Scott Walker, and six other top polling candidates filled the coveted airtime, the bottom of the pack was banished to the junior leagues.
The Democratic debate will take place at the Wynn Las Vegas and is co-sponsored by the Nevada Democratic Party. Anderson Cooper will moderate the event. You can watch these top five Democratic presidential hopefuls — six if Biden joins in at the last minute — on Tuesday, Oct. 13 on CNN.