MSNBC announced an exciting event happening this week — a DNC presidential forum hosted by Rachel Maddow will air on Friday Nov. 6 at 8 p.m. ET on MSNBC. The eponymous host of The Rachel Maddow Show will serve as moderator for the informal debate entitled "First In The South Democratic Candidates Forum," which will feature the three remaining Democratic candidates: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O'Malley.
If you're confused why there hasn't been a lot of hype about the forum, it's totally understandable. The event isn't a formal scheduled debate and was just announced at the end of October. The next full-fledged debate airs on CBS on Nov. 14, and this forum will be structured very differently than the more formal debates. Maddow will act as more of an interviewer than a moderator, holding separate conversations with each of the three candidates who will not talk amongst themselves.
The event should be very informative, because the style will allow for long-form answers, close comparisons of the candidates' positions, and tough pointed questioning without any of the theatricality that often overwhelms the debates. The conversations will focus on a wide variety of topics, including "the economy, policing, and the state of the Democratic Party in the South."
MSNBC's announcement, which came just eight days before the event is scheduled to take place, could be reactionary to the Spring Valley High School incident. The disturbing video, which surfaced on Oct. 26, was taken at the high school in Columbia, South Carolina, just an hour's drive from Winthrop University, where the forum will take place. The inclusion of policing on the discussion agenda doesn't seem coincidental, considering how the story dominated the news cycles for most of last week.
The "state of the Democratic Party in the South" line item is another point of interest. It's not uncommon to hear politicians and pundits say that the GOP is dying, but the South still mostly voted Republican in the last election. Mitt Romney won South Carolina with 55 percent of the vote, and the Democrats might be looking to swing voters on social issues. With a new generation of voters preparing to step into the ballot box in just one year's time, it looks like the DNC is gearing up to take charge of traditionally red states.
Maddow and the Democratic triad will converge on Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina, on Friday. I just wish Frank Underwood was participating, too.