To silence the criticism that there weren’t enough Democratic primary debates, the party has decided to host at least 12 debates starting in 2019. The Washington Post reported that polling and grassroots support would be the gauge concerning who will earn a spot on stage. Six debates will be held next year in states that aren’t holding early primary contests. Two will be held in June and July of 2019, with a break in August. Then, there will be a debate every month until April of 2020, though depending on how many candidates, and how many met certain thresholds for placement on the debate stage, it could go well beyond 12 debates (via WaPo):
Democratic presidential candidates will meet in June for the first of at least 12 planned primary debates of the 2020 election cycle under a plan released Thursday by party officials who said they were determined to create large debate audiences with broad candidate participation.
A ticket to the early debate stages will be determined by a combination of polling, grass roots financial support and other factors, in an effort to include candidates who are not registering nationally in public opinion surveys.
If the number of candidates is too large to host at a single event, the party plans to host two events in the same location on consecutive nights, after randomly dividing the candidates in a public selection process. That would increase the number of actual debates beyond a dozen.
In total, Clinton debated her Democratic rivals nine times over the course of seven months. An analysis by NDN, a Democratic think tank, found the television viewership of the 12 Republican primary debates in 2016 was about 186 million, more than double the 72 million people who tuned in for the Democratic debates.
This time, Democrats will host at least six debates in 2019, all of them in states that do not hold early primary or caucus contests. There will be at least six more debates in early 2020, including meetings in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.
The first two 2019 debates will be held in June and July. After an August break, they will continue on a monthly basis through the rest of the year. The last debate will be held in April of 2020.
Up to this point, Democratic officials have not consulted with prospective 2020 candidates or their staffs on the debate planning, unless those people were involved in the 2016 primary campaign.
So, grab your popcorn, whiskey, and maybe an Advil or seven because the amount of candidates running in 2020 is going to be astronomical. And thus, the level of insanity is sure to reach biblical levels. The circus is coming to town.