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Tipsheet

Leftist Women's Groups Demand DNC Makes Changes To Future Debates

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Multiple leftist women's advocacy groups – Higher Heights, the National Women’s Law Center and UltraViolet Action– have come together to launch a petition "demanding better representation of debate moderators. While they're happy that at least one woman is moderating every debate, the groups say there's still a "representation problem."

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According to the organizations' heads, the moderators are not reflective of the Democratic Party's voters. 

“Today’s voters are more diverse than ever before, and this year’s primaries feature the most diverse group of candidates in modern history. But there’s a clear representation problem when it comes to who sits at the debate moderators’ table. Moderators hold a lot of power over how the debates unfold. They determine what questions are asked, which issues are centered, and which candidates get the most air time. Moderators are supposed to represent voters’ greatest interests and concerns, but how can they do that when they don’t represent a key group of American voters?” Shaunna Thomas, co-founder and executive director at UltraViolet Action, said in a statement. “Networks have a responsibility to ensure these important debates are inclusive, relevant, and actually representative of the American people. It’s ridiculous that we’re still fighting to get a Black woman or a woman of color a seat at the moderators’ table.”

The petition comes as CNN’s Dana Bash, Don Lemon and Jake Tapper are scheduled to moderate both nights of the Democratic debates in Detroit, Michigan. 

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From the petition (emphasis mine):

The Democratic presidential debates are in full swing, and while the DNC committed to having a woman moderate every debate there is still a major representation problem. This week, CNN’s Dana Bash, Don Lemon, and Jake Tapper will moderate both nights of the Democratic Debates in Detroit, Michigan. That means zero Black women or women of color moderators—again.

Today’s voters are more diverse than ever before, and this year’s primaries feature the most diverse group of candidates in modern history. But there’s a clear representation problem when it comes to who sits at the debate moderators’ table. 

Moderators hold a lot of power over how the debates unfold. They determine what questions are asked, which issues are centered, and which candidates get the most air time. Moderators are supposed to represent voters’ greatest interests and concerns, but how can they do that when they don’t represent a key group of American voters?

Today’s voter base is more than half women and more than one-third people of color. Networks have a responsibility to ensure these important debates are inclusive, relevant, and actually representative of the American people. It’s ridiculous that we’re still fighting to get a Black woman or a woman of color a seat at the moderators’ table.

We’ve demanded and won a woman moderator at every debate, and we can win this fight too, add your name.

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It's very, very interesting that this debate is taking place amongst Democrats. Conservatives have repeatedly pointed out the irony of people like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and former Vice President Joe Biden coming out leading the pack. We've repeatedly said that Democrats claim to be the party of women, minorities, the LBGT community and every other marginalized group but their candidates don't reflect those groups.

Let's see if this issue comes up later tonight.

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