Are you ready for some free-for-all, oddball, political brawling? The first of the Democrats’ debates involving 20 top candidates competing for the 2020 presidential nomination will take place June 26 and 27, and it is guaranteed to deliver some interesting sound bytes and growls.
NBC will televise the four hours of what is sure to be name-calling and surly one-upmanship simultaneously with the MSNBC and Telemundo networks from 9 to 11pm ET each night, according to NBC.
Given the roiling candidacy stampede that actually exceeds 20 people at this point, it’s pretty clear there is not room for politeness and well-mannered disagreements if a candidate wants to rise above the clouds of dust in the room and gain ground in the polls.
Nonetheless, it will fall to a list of five just-announced moderators to try to keep order on the stage and allow the front runners to distinguish themselves.
Lester Holt, Savannah Guthrie, Chuck Todd, Rachel Maddow, and José Díaz-Balart are set to be the moderators.
#NEW: NBC announces its moderators for the first round of Democratic presidential primary debates on June 26-27 in Miami:
-José Díaz-Balart #OANN
— Jennifer Franco (@jennfranconews) June 11, 2019
Other than Guthrie, they all have debate-stage experience and all are well-known to their national audiences. Holt moderated the first general election debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, while Todd joined up with Maddow for a 2016 Democratic debate between Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Todd also was paired with Díaz-Balart for a 2016 forum between Clinton and Sanders.
This being the “everybody’s a critic” era, leftists on social media are falling all over themselves with opinions on the moderator choices. An informal scan of tweets coming from the wrong side of the street suggests that Guthrie and Todd are not popular choices. Joy Reid is a name that keeps coming up as someone who many would have liked to see on the list.
— MayaWileyLocs♂???? (@AMPWMinnocent) June 11, 2019
Savannah Guthrie? Really? Why not Kathie Lee Gifford?
— Tara Ramsey (@TaraRam25620179) June 11, 2019
As for how 20 candidates, as yet undetermined, are going to participate in the debates, the format will consist of two separate two-hour, prime-time telecasts.
Ten candidates will appear on stage each night from the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami, Florida.
Candidates who lead the polls at this point are shoe-ins to be included on the debate stage, while those struggling to make their mark must receive at least 65,000 individual donations or attain at least 1 percent in three polls. More than a dozen candidates have crossed both thresholds, according to Politico, with better than 20 hitting at least one.
NBC reports that Holt will moderate the first hour each night, with Guthrie and Diaz-Balart appearing alongside him. He will also appear in the second hour, with Todd and Maddow moderating.
Savannah Guthrie, really? She spent a week hand-holding that MAGA kid who threatened the Native American man at a political event. Replace her with @JoyAnnReid or @K_JeanPierre. They are too good to be left out of this. https://t.co/YBzFePl5Mk
— Kat K ? (@HIHKatharine) June 11, 2019
MSNBC has been beyond unfair to @BernieSanders truly sad to see this group. Hey we have spent X time ignoring & shaming Bernie but we promise will be fair?⚡️ “Rachel Maddow, Lester Holt, Savannah Guthrie and more will moderate the first Democratic debate”https://t.co/A5VIXJQou3
— James Scott Bernie2020 (@Jscott1145) June 11, 2019
The only thing that is sure to provide some unity across the stage is the candidates’ and moderators’ mutual feelings for President Donald Trump … as in distrust, envy, and hatred. It remains to be seen if that will keep this first round of debates on track.
Watch Politico’s occasionally humorous Democrat Debate Cheat Sheet …
Video by Politico
I’m gobsmacked they picked Savannah Guthrie. She’s not exactly hard hitting.
— Laura Benson (@authorLauraB) June 11, 2019
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