Per Politico, the DNC just announced a change as to how they will determine which candidates are on stage for the first debate’s two nights (June 26 and June 27): Basically they will:
- First have a random drawing of those candidates polling above 2 percent to split those candidates between the two nights
- Then have another random drawing of those candidates polling below 2 percent to split those candidates between the two nights
The goal as described in the cited article is to prevent random chance from having most of the leading candidates on the stage on one of the nights.
The DNC wants to prevent having what many called “the kid’s table” debate that the Republicans had in 2016 when they held separate debates for those polling poorly and those polling well. Almost no one watched the kid’s table debates (relatively speaking).
There’s undoubtedly debate among us as to which approach is better to begin with (i.e., purposely having the front-runners all together or purposely not having them all together). I can understand arguments for both approaches.
There seems to be both a financial motive for the networks televising the debates (in that they’d rather have two widely watched nights than one widely watched and one narrowly watched) and a fairness motive for the DNC to try to give all candidates an even chance to have a breakout moment.
In a related move, and as reported by The Hill, the DNC also announced that they will be having the candidates, or the candidate’s representatives, present during the random drawings to ensure transparency. That seems like an approach no one would complain about.