Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Third Democratic Debate Had The Largest Audience So Far
There have been a lot of accusations of favoritism leveled at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in this race for the presidential nomination. Many Sanders (and O'Malley) supporters claim the DNC wants Hillary Clinton to be the nominee -- and to further that they limited the debates to only six.
I've always thought that was a disingenuous argument. The DNC has no dog in this fight. Taking the side of any candidate can only hurt them, because it would anger the Democrats supporting other candidates -- and that could hurt the chances of down-ballot Democrats in November (as those people could be so angry they would stay at home or vote for a third party). While the DNC members may have their personal favorite, they are not about to let that affect how they manage the primary season -- because their job is to help Democrats across the country get elected. The DNC did't takes sides in 2008, and they haven't done it in 2016 either.
Limiting the debates to six did not show any favoritism either. Frankly, I don't know why any sane person would want to watch more than six debates (except maybe for die-hard supporters, and more debates won't change their minds).
Another argument of the whiners claiming favoritism is the fact that this last debate was scheduled on a Sunday night -- a time that they say most people won't (or can't) watch, supposedly to see their favorite candidate out-debate all the others. Nonsense. If we've learned anything in these debates, it's that all three candidates are excellent debaters -- and none of them is going to be "out-debated".
That argument was also exposed by the fact that the "hidden" Sunday night debate turned out to be the most watched Democratic debate so far (see the chart above). More than 10.161 million people watched the debate on NBC -- and another 1.2 million watched it on the internet (NBC.com or YouTube) or a mobile app.
The point is that anyone who wanted to see the debate watched it, and more than a half-million who couldn't watch it live, watched a rerun. There are just too many ways to watch a debate these technologically-advanced days (live or reruns) for any group to be able to "hide" a debate.
It's time to stop the crying and accusations of favoritism. We have three very good Democratic candidates -- and the DNC has been very fair in making it possible for all three to get their message out. I applaud the DNC for the job they have done.