October Democratic Presidential Debate Will Take Place On One Night

Chairman of the Democratic National Committee U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) speaks before a Democratic presidential debate sponsored by CNN and Facebook at Wynn Las Vegas on October 13, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Although many assumed the October Democratic presidential debate would be split into two nights, this is not the case. CNN reports that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) will include all 12 candidates into just one night.

“To address several inquiries we have received we are writing to let you know that, pending a final decision after the certification deadline, it is the intention of the DNC and our media partners to hold the October debate over one night on Tuesday October 15th,” the DNC wrote in an email.

The debate will feature the following Democratic presidential candidates: former Vice President Joe Biden; Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren; Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders; South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg; California Senator Kamala Harris; businessman Andrew Yang; former Texas Representative Beto O’Rourke; New Jersey Senator Cory Booker; Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar; former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro; Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard; and billionaire Tom Steyer.

Although other candidates still have time to hit 2 percent in four DNC-approved polls and be privy to 130,000 unique donors by October 1, nobody is close to doing so at this point, meaning the debate will likely consist of just 12 candidates.

Many have expressed criticism regarding the debate format, suggesting that it is tailored for generating soundbites and sparking drama more than realizing a real discussion about political issues. Yang used his appearance on the H3 podcast to reveal that some of the bigger campaigns are in touch with TV networks ahead of the debates to coordinate the attacks they plan to level on other candidates.

“The campaign says ‘Hey, um, we’re gonna make this attack against Biden,’ and then the network goes, ‘OK, like, we get it.’ And then they help create that opportunity,” he said.

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In addition, Gabbard has been critical about the purported lack of transparency surrounding the debate criteria after she failed to qualify for the September debates.

“There’s been a lack of transparency in that whole process about which polls are selected, which aren’t, which they’re seeing as qualifying, which ones are actually polling,” she said, per The Hill.

As of now, the debate lineup is unclear, although typically the higher-polling candidates are positioned to the center of the stage and the lesser to the outside. If this format remains the same, Biden, Warren, Sanders, Buttigieg, Harris, and Yang are the top six candidates and will thus be positioned in the center with the remaining candidates take their place on either side of those contenders. In that scenario, Castro and Gabbard will occupy the outermost positions given the two candidates possess the lowest polling averages.