We’ve been saying for so long now that nothing matters yet, it’s too early, the election is so far off, and then the damn first Democratic Debates kind of sneaked up on us. The first primary is still six months away, but sh*t is starting to matter, like, now, because what happens in these debates and in the next six months may actually determine the next President of the United States.
Here’s how the lineup of twenty candidates shakes out:
NEWS - the Democratic debate groups— Reid J. Epstein (@reidepstein) June 14, 2019
PURPLE: bernie, harris, biden, buttigieg, bennet, williamson, swalwell gillibrand, yang, hickenlooper
ORANGE: booker, warren, beto, klobuchar, delaney, tulsi, castro, ryan, de blasio, Inslee
NBC will now decide which night goes first
We have since learned that the Orange group will go on night one — July 26th — and the Purple group will go on July 27th.
Three of the 23 candidates did not qualify, Seth Moulton, Steve Bullock, and Wayne Messam.
I’m not sure exactly what to think of it: On the one hand, four of the five frontrunners — Bernie, Kamala, Biden, and Buttigieg — will all debate on the same night, and Warren is the odd woman out as far as frontrunners go. On the other hand, Warren gets to be the only frontrunner on the first night of the debates, and given the attention she has been (rightfully) receiving from the press, I expect she will get a lot of attention on the first night.
On the other hand, she will not get to debate head to head against Biden and Bernie, although we will get to see Kamala put those prosecutorial skills to use against the three male frontrunners, which presents a great opportunity for her, so long as the night doesn’t devolve into a Bernie vs. Biden debate.
Still, with this many candidates and limited time, it’s gonna be a frustrating pain in the ass having to suffer through an assortment of white dudes giving their spiels while we wait for the candidates we actually care about, who will probably get 20 seconds before they have to move on. In some ways, these debates mean everything because it will give some of the candidates their first major national exposure, but in other ways, they’re meaningless because no one will be able to speak long enough to get their damn points across.
Fortunately, by September, the field of qualifying candidates will be significantly reduced for the second round of debates.