2016 General Election Presidential Debate Schedule – and DNC’s Debate Mess

Here’s the 2016 General Election debate schedule. The D and R nominees for president will meet 3 times, all at college campuses. VP nominees will meet once in Virginia.

Sept. 26, 2016 at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.

Oct. 9, 2016 at Washington University in St. Louis

Oct. 19, 2016 at University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Oct. 4, 2016 Vice-presidential debate at Longwood University in Farmville, VA

Once again, New Jersey’s out in the cold; we’ve never hosted a presidential debate. WaPo columnist Philip Bump objects to Washington U’s repeat selection on grounds that it’s already hosted – in 1992, 2000 & 2004 – and notoriously also the 2008 VP debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin.

Washington U’s luck bothers me less than the mess the DNC’s made of the Dem primary debates. In 2008, there were 25 debates between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. In this cycle, DNC’s allowing only 6 (only 4 before Iowa votes). The Republicans scheduled twice as many.

WaPo reports the Clinton camp only wanted 4 debates, though her campaign isn’t responding to questions on this (Politico also reports she worked to limit debates). Debbie Wasserman Schultz has also decreed that any Dem debating outside the DNC-sanctioned debates will be dropped from DNC’s debates. DWS, co-chair of Hillary’s 2008 campaign, is being confronted – and should be – by Dems who accuse her of protecting Clinton by limiting opportunities for her opponents to challenge her before a national TV audience.

If that’s true – and the evidence strongly suggests it – it’s having a backlash effect of self-inflicted harm to Hillary Clinton. She’s already facing criticism for her campaign’s handling of the email situation, already having trouble connecting with voters as Sanders draws big vibrant crowds. And just like 2008, her premature mantle of inevitable nominee comes into question if she gives the impression she’s afraid to debate and needs the party to fix it so her exposure is limited.

Only one person can fix that: Hillary Clinton. Imagine how strong her campaign might look if she demanded the opportunity to debate another half-dozen times.

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