2016 Democratic Party presidential debates and forums
The 2016 Democratic Party presidential debates occurred among candidates in the campaign for the Democratic Party's nomination for the President of the United States in the 2016 presidential election.
Several forums, in which candidates do not respond directly to each other, were later also announced, with the support of the DNC.
- 1 Presidential debates
- 1.1 Schedule
- 1.2 Ratings
- 1.3 Tuesday October 13, 2015 – Las Vegas, Nevada
- 1.4 Saturday November 14, 2015 – Des Moines, Iowa
- 1.5 Saturday December 19, 2015 – Goffstown, New Hampshire
- 1.6 Sunday January 17, 2016 – Charleston, South Carolina
- 1.7 Thursday February 4, 2016 – Durham, New Hampshire
- 1.8 Thursday February 11, 2016 – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- 1.9 Sunday March 6, 2016 – Flint, Michigan
- 1.10 Wednesday March 9, 2016 – Miami, Florida
- 1.11 Thursday April 14, 2016 – Brooklyn, New York
- 1.12 Planned May debate/Potential Sanders/Trump debate
- 2 Forums
- 2.1 Schedule
- 2.2 November 6, 2015 – Rock Hill, South Carolina
- 2.3 November 24, 2015 – MoveOn.org
- 2.4 January 11, 2016 – Des Moines, Iowa
- 2.5 January 25, 2016 – Des Moines, Iowa
- 2.6 February 3, 2016 – Derry, New Hampshire
- 2.7 February 18, 2016 – Las Vegas, Nevada
- 2.8 February 23, 2016 – Columbia, South Carolina
- 2.9 March 7, 2016 – Detroit, Michigan
- 2.10 March 13, 2016 – Columbus, Ohio
- 2.11 March 14, 2016 – Columbus, Ohio and Springfield, Illinois
- 2.12 March 21, 2016 – Washington, D.C
- 2.13 March 30, 2016 – Wisconsin and New York City
- 2.14 April 25, 2016 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- 3 Criticism and controversy
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 External links
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced on May 5, 2015, that there would be 6 debates, which they considered "a reasonable number and in line with what the national committee sanctioned in 2008." On August 6, 2015, the DNC announced the locations for all six original debates, with exact venues still to be determined, and the specific dates for the first four debates.
In late January 2016, trailing the New Hampshire primary race, the Clinton campaign requested a second New Hampshire debate, which had already been scheduled to February 4, to be officially sanctioned by the DNC. The Sanders campaign said they would only agree with that proposal if a total of four additional debates would be held, one in February, March, April and May each. Both campaigns agreed to a March 3 debate in Flint, Michigan. There also seemed to be agreement on a California debate on May 24, but not at the remaining April 14 debate in Brooklyn, New York, as proposed by Sanders. On February 3, just ahead of the second New Hampshire debate, Clinton's and Sanders's campaigns agreed in principle to holding four more debates, also sanctioned by the DNC, for a total of 10.
|P Participant I Invitee (to a future debate) N Non-invitee A Absent invitee O Out of race (exploring or withdrawn)||Chafee||Clinton||O'Malley||Sanders||Webb|
|DNC sanctioned debates|
|1||Tue Oct. 13, 2015||5:30 p.m. PDT||Wynn Las Vegas
Las Vegas, NV
|2||Sat Nov. 14, 2015||8 p.m. CST||Drake University
Des Moines, IA
The Des Moines Register/Twitter
|3||Sat Dec. 19, 2015||8 p.m. EST||St. Anselm College
|4||Sun Jan. 17, 2016||9 p.m. EST||Gaillard Center
Black Caucus Institute
|5||Thu Feb. 4, 2016||9 p.m. EST||University of New Hampshire
|6||Thu Feb. 11, 2016||8 p.m. CST||University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
|7||Sun Mar. 6, 2016||8 p.m. EST||The Whiting in Flint Cultural Center
|8||Wed Mar. 9, 2016||9 p.m. EST||Miami Dade College
|Univision/The Washington Post/CNN||O||P||O||P||O|
|9||Thu Apr. 14, 2016||9 p.m. EDT||Duggal Greenhouse in Brooklyn Navy Yard
|10||May 2016||N/A||San Francisco, California (canceled)||Fox News Channel||N||N||N||N||N|
|*^ Participating in at least one debate listed above: Former Gov. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island • Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of New York • Former Gov. Martin O'Malley of Maryland • Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont • Former Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia|
The following table lists the ratings (number of estimated viewers) of the debates to date.
|1||October 13, 2015||15.8 million||CNN|
|2||November 14, 2015||8.5 million||CBS|
|3||December 19, 2015||7.8 million||ABC|
|4||January 17, 2016||10.2 million||NBC|
|5||February 4, 2016||4.5 million||MSNBC|
|6||February 11, 2016||8.0 million||PBS|
|7||March 6, 2016||5.5 million||CNN|
|8||March 9, 2016||5.9 million||Univision/CNN|
|9||April 14, 2016||5.6 million||CNN/NY1|
Tuesday October 13, 2015 – Las Vegas, NevadaEdit
Starting at 8:30 p.m. and ending at 11:00 p.m. Eastern time, it aired on CNN and was broadcast on radio by Westwood One. Anderson Cooper was the moderator of the debate, with Dana Bash and Juan Carlos Lopez asking additional questions and Don Lemon presenting questions submitted by voters via Facebook.
To be invited to the debate, a candidate had to achieve an average of at least 1% in three recognized national polls released between August 1 and October 10. In addition, a candidate had to either file a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission or declare that one would be filed by October 14, the day after the debate. The latter criterion would have accommodated Vice President Joe Biden had he decided to enter the presidential race as late as the day of the debate. CNN had an extra lectern available to install for Biden, but he took no action to enter the campaign before the debate.
Analysis on the debate was largely mixed regarding who, between the top two candidates, won. Some analysts from CNN and BBC viewed Clinton as the winner, while other publications such as The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and the Fox News Channel, claimed that Sanders was the winner. Conversely, Chafee, O'Malley and Webb were all widely regarded as the "losers". One of the most memorable moments from the debate, which drew an average of 15.3 million viewers, a record for a Democratic debate, came when Sanders replied to a question about Clinton's email controversy that the American people were "sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails", which drew cheers and applause from the audience and a smile and handshake between the two candidates. With regard to social media, Sanders had the biggest gains of the night on Twitter and Facebook, with an increase of 46,000 new followers and 35,000 new likes, respectively; over the course of the night, he was also the most-searched candidate on Google. Conversely, Clinton had the biggest gains on Instagram, with 25,000 likes for her photograph of her podium just before the debate started. It was noted that Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, who was live-Tweeting during the entire debate and mocking the candidates, gained more Twitter followers over the course of the night than all of the five candidates combined, with over 70,000 new followers.
With the focus primarily being on Clinton and Sanders, a majority of subsequent fact-checking in the aftermath of the debate was regarding comments made by the two of them. Fact-checking by the Associated Press and USA Today pointed out mistakes in both of their presentations: specifically, Clinton was considered inconsistent in many of her policy stances, particularly with regard to the Obama administration's handling of the Syrian Civil War as well as the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement that Clinton supported as Secretary of State, but changed to opposing while a candidate. In contrast, Sanders was pointed out as making economic claims based on outdated information, particularly with regard to how much of America's GDP actually goes to the wealthiest in the country.
- on YouTube
Saturday November 14, 2015 – Des Moines, IowaEdit
It aired on CBS News and was also be broadcast by KCCI and The Des Moines Register. This was the first debate to be broadcast over nationwide network television, the previous debate having gone over cable.
The day before the debate, November 13, was the day of the November 2015 Paris attacks, where nearly 130 civilians were killed by radical Jihadist terrorists - specifically, members of ISIS - across the city of Paris. As a result of the attacks, after initial speculation that the debate might be cancelled, CBS announced that, while the debate would go on as planned, the focus of the debate's content would be dramatically shifted over to foreign policy and terrorism. In addition, a moment of silence was held at the beginning of the debate in memory of the victims.
One of the most memorable moments of the debate was when Clinton defended against claims that she had ties to Wall Street bankers, particularly when Sanders pointed out that some of Clinton's largest donors were from Wall Street. Clinton retaliated by claiming that, as the Senator from New York during the September 11 attacks, she had to work closely with Wall Street since the attacks were so close to Wall Street. Clinton immediately received scrutiny over these comments, including when Dickerson highlighted a Tweet from a viewer reading, "Never before have I heard someone use 9/11 to justify millions of Wall Street donations," which drew thunderous applause from the audience, and led to both Sanders and O'Malley also attacking Clinton for those comments. Post-debate criticisms arose from all across the political spectrum, from Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, to Clinton's own former campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, who said that the 9/11 reference would've been better used in the previous discussion on terrorism and foreign policy, not justifying her Wall Street connections.
Saturday December 19, 2015 – Goffstown, New HampshireEdit
It aired on ABC News and was moderated by journalist David Muir, anchor of "World News Tonight", and Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz. On December 11, 2015, the DNC had announced that it would revoke the sponsorship of the debate by WMUR-TV because of a labor dispute with its unionized employees. The topics covered during the debate included Sanders' campaign's breach of Clinton's campaign data, strategy for defeating ISIS, gun control, the issue of whether to depose President Assad of Syria, if Wall Street favored each candidate, stability in the Middle East enforced by dictators and whether regime change was necessary, and the role of the First Spouse.
- on YouTube
Sunday January 17, 2016 – Charleston, South CarolinaEdit
The Democratic Party's fourth presidential debate ahead of the 2016 Democratic primaries, and the first one in 2016, was held on January 17, 2016, at the Gaillard Center, a venue for performing arts in Charleston, South Carolina.
Held from 9 to 11 pm ET, it was facilitated by Lester Holt and Andrea Mitchell. The location was 7.6 miles southeast of the North Charleston Coliseum, where the last Republican debate had been held on January 14, and the debate aired on NBC News and YouTube. It was also sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus. It was notable as being the final debate before the start of precinct caucuses and primary voting. On January 8, NBC News announced that in order to qualify for the debate, a candidate must have reached an average of at least 5% either in national polls, or in Iowa, New Hampshire, or South Carolina, based on the five most recent polls recognized by NBC News released before January 14.
Both before and after the debate, commentators said the debate was focused on Sanders and his voting record on gun control and slights against President Obama, among other issues. During the debate, O'Malley interrupted to take 30 seconds to talk about "homeland security and preparedness". Also during the debate, Clinton and Sanders had some back-and-forth exchanges to define themselves on Wall Street, foreign policy, and gun control.
Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post viewed Sanders as the winner of the debate, while also praising O'Malley. According to Cillizza, Clinton was, "as always, solid," but "she did nothing in the debate to slow the momentum that Sanders is building in Iowa and New Hampshire."
This was the fourth and final debate appearance of O'Malley, who suspended his campaign on February 1.
- on YouTube
Thursday February 4, 2016 – Durham, New HampshireEdit
|Clinton||~ 1 hour||50.4%|
|Sanders||~ 1 hour||36.3%|
On January 26, NBC News and the New Hampshire Union Leader announced plans to hold an unsanctioned debate in New Hampshire on February 4, to be moderated by Chuck Todd and Rachel Maddow. Clinton, Sanders, and O'Malley all received an invitation to the debate, with O'Malley being the first to confirm his participation. On January 31, the DNC officially sanctioned the debate but removed the Union Leader as a sponsor, and each major Democratic candidate confirmed their attendance. O'Malley suspended his campaign after a poor showing in the Iowa caucuses, thereby leaving Clinton and Sanders as the remaining participants. The debate aired on February 4, 2016, from 9 to 11 pm ET on MSNBC.
Commentators of the debate cited the elevated discourse between the candidates. There was discussion on the death penalty (federal versus state), money in politics, and assessing Russia, Iran, and North Korea as threats to national security. Clinton demanded that Sanders explain his "artful smears" of Clinton receiving campaign donations. Sanders responded by critiquing the inherently "quid-pro-quo" nature of Wall Street campaign donations. The exchange between the two candidates was called by Eric Levitz one of the best 10-minute exchanges in the history of American political debates.
- on YouTube
Thursday February 11, 2016 – Milwaukee, WisconsinEdit
|Clinton||~ 1 hour||49.3%|
|Sanders||~ 1 hour||36.0%|
The debate preshow ran for 30 minutes before the debate. Clinton noted it was a new milestone among presidential debates owing to the fact that more women were on the debate stage than men (3:1). After opening statements with Sanders going first, each candidate had 90 seconds to answer and then the other was given a 30-second response. There were two short breaks. During a break, highlights of the debate were shown by Hari Sreenivasan with political commentary from Lisa Desjardins, Amy Walter, and Tamara Keith weighing in on what had been said.
The candidates debated on race relations, the size of government, funding their goals, Medicaid/Medicare, campaign contributor's influence, the prospect of a first woman president, affordable college, reducing areas of government, readiness for an attack on America, Henry Kissinger, Russian relations, the U.S. role with respect to refugees, influential leaders on foreign policy, and criticism of President Barack Obama. In closing statements, Sanders talked about bringing people together to create a representative government. Clinton's closing talked about not being a single issue candidate and taking on all barriers to people achieving their individual potentials.
- on YouTube
Sunday March 6, 2016 – Flint, MichiganEdit
The city chosen was the epicenter of the ongoing Flint water crisis. Starting at 8.00 pm EST, the debate aired on CNN and was moderated by Anderson Cooper. He was joined by CNN's Don Lemon in asking questions. The debate ran for almost two hours. At the end of the debate, Cooper announced a labor union fund had committed $25 million in low-interest loans towards repairing the water system.
The Michigan Democratic Party claimed the organization had no tickets to distribute leading up to the debate for the general public, party volunteers & major party donors, however sent out open public emails with links to open invites for any person interested in attending a pre-debate reception and dinner on March 5, combined with debate tickets for March 6, that would be willing to purchase tickets for $1,000 to $20,000 per package via EventBrite.
Candidates were given 75 seconds to respond and 30 seconds for follow-ups. Members of the audience, made up of Democrats and Independents, were also given the chance to field questions, which were screened to avoid overlapping in content. Sanders and Clinton were given 60 seconds for opening statements and for closing statements at the end of the debate.
A subsequent WikiLeaks email dump suggested that DNC vice chair Donna Brazile gave Clinton an unfair advantage in the debate with Sanders, revealed by Brazille's email message on March 5, 2016, to John Podesta and Jennifer Palmieri with the title: "One of the questions directed to HRC tomorrow is from a woman with a rash." The message continued, "her family has lead poison and she will ask what, if anything, will Hillary do as president to help the ppl of Flint."
- on YouTube
Wednesday March 9, 2016 – Miami, FloridaEdit
Starting at 9:00 PM Eastern Standard Time, it was broadcast through a partnership between Univision and The Washington Post. The debate was discussed during a job interview conducted in early 2015 between the Democratic National Committee's then-Communications Director Mo Elleithee and future Hispanic Media Director Pablo Manriquez. After starting at the DNC in April 2015, Manriquez "talked about the idea for a debate for Democratic candidates on Univision to anyone who had ears to listen." The debate was officially announced on November 2, 2015.
- on YouTube
Thursday April 14, 2016 – Brooklyn, New YorkEdit
The Democratic Party's ninth presidential debate ahead of the 2016 U.S. presidential election was held on April 14, 2016 at the Duggal Greenhouse in Brooklyn Navy Yard. The debate was aired on CNN and NY1. Wolf Blitzer of CNN served as moderator.
Planned May debate/Potential Sanders/Trump debateEdit
Despite previously agreeing to a tenth debate in the state of California, before the last day of primary elections, Hillary Clinton declined to participate. As a result of this, the debate was cancelled. Bernie Sanders called it insulting to the people of California, the largest primary state.
After it had been established that a California debate would not take place, Donald Trump offered a debate with Bernie Sanders ahead of the June 7th primary. The only condition for this debate was for the profits to be donated to a charity, which the candidates would agree on. Bernie Sanders accepted the offer; however, Donald Trump eventually declined to participate, stating there was no need to debate a candidate who would not win the Democratic nomination.
In addition to the main debates, twelve forums were scheduled for the candidates to discuss the issues.
| P Participant I Invitee (to a future debate) N Non-invitee
A Absent invitee O Out of race (exploring or withdrawn)
|Fmr. Sec. of State Clinton||Fmr. Gov. O'Malley||Sen. Sanders|
|1||Nov. 6, 2015||8 p.m. EST||Winthrop University
Rock Hill, SC
|2||Nov. 24, 2015||N/A||virtual
|3||Jan. 11, 2016||7 p.m. CST||Drake University
Des Moines, IA
|4||Jan. 25, 2016||9 p.m. EST||Drake University
Des Moines, IA
|5||Feb. 3, 2016||9 p.m. EST||Adams Memorial Opera House
|6||Feb. 18, 2016||9 p.m. EST||Keep Memory Alive Event Center
Las Vegas, NV
|7||Feb. 23, 2016||8 p.m. EST||University of South Carolina
|8||Mar. 7, 2016||6 p.m. EST||Gem Theatre
|Fox News Channel||P||O||P|
|9||Mar. 13, 2016||8 p.m. EST||Mershon Auditorium
|10||Mar. 14, 2016||6 p.m. EST||Ohio State University Columbus, OH
Old Capitol Building Springfield, IL
|11||Mar. 21, 2016||8 p.m. EDT||Washington, D.C.||CNN||P||O||P|
|12||Mar. 30, 2016||7 p.m. EDT||Wisconsin and New York City||MSNBC||P||O||P|
|13||Apr. 25, 2016||8 p.m. EDT||National Constitution Center
|*^ Participating in at least one debate listed above: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of New York • Former Gov. Martin O'Malley of Maryland • Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont|
November 6, 2015 – Rock Hill, South CarolinaEdit
Rachel Maddow was selected to moderate the First in the South Candidates Forum with Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O'Malley, which was held at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina, on November 6, co-sponsored by the Democratic Parties of 13 southern states. The forum was not in debate format; instead, each candidate was interviewed individually and sequentially. Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb were also invited, but their campaigns never responded to the invitations, and both subsequently withdrew from the race. Lessig attempted multiple times to enter the debates but was systematically excluded by the DNC.
A Public Policy Poll of South Carolina Democratic voters conducted from November 7–8, after the forum, discovered that 67% of viewers thought Clinton won the forum, 16% thought Sanders won, and 6% thought O'Malley won, with 11% unsure.
November 24, 2015 – MoveOn.orgEdit
The second forum for the Democratic primaries occurred on November 24, 2015. On October 21, 2015, MoveOn announced that it would host a candidate forum to be recorded and aired online in mid-November. The announcement came amid ongoing unrest within the Democratic party over the unusually low number of Democratic debates allowed by the DNC. While five candidates – Lincoln Chafee, Hillary Clinton, Lawrence Lessig, Martin O'Malley, and Bernie Sanders – were invited, only Sanders and O'Malley appeared at the event. Although this was the first forum between the candidates in which Lessig was invited, he dropped out of the race before the forum was to be held.
The two candidates delivered responses on Social Security, student debt, gun violence, immigration, campaign finance reform, climate change, the progressive movement, the Syrian refugee crisis, the economy, racial profiling, and police brutality, and gave closing statements.
January 11, 2016 – Des Moines, IowaEdit
January 25, 2016 – Des Moines, IowaEdit
February 3, 2016 – Derry, New HampshireEdit
February 18, 2016 – Las Vegas, NevadaEdit
The sixth forum, a Town Hall event, occurred on February 18, 2016, at the Keep Memory Alive (KMA) event center in Las Vegas, Nevada. It aired on MSNBC and Telemundo. Sanders was asked a series of questions before the microphone was turned over to Hillary Rodham Clinton. A number of questions were directed at Latino and American-Islamic issues and some questions were asked in Spanish. Young voters and first-time voters also spoke.
February 23, 2016 – Columbia, South CarolinaEdit
March 7, 2016 – Detroit, MichiganEdit
March 13, 2016 – Columbus, OhioEdit
March 14, 2016 – Columbus, Ohio and Springfield, IllinoisEdit
The tenth forum was held at 6:00 pm EDT on March 14, 2016, at the campus of Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, and at the Old State Capitol State Historic Site in Springfield, Illinois. It aired on MSNBC. The first section of the town hall with Bernie Sanders was moderated by Chuck Todd in Columbus; the second section of the town hall with Hillary Clinton was moderated by Chris Matthews in Springfield.
March 21, 2016 – Washington, D.CEdit
The eleventh forum was held at 8:00 pm EDT on March 21, 2016. This was known as the Final Five Forum by CNN, and included Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich live, with Bernie Sanders participating remotely. The event was hosted by Anderson Cooper.
March 30, 2016 – Wisconsin and New York CityEdit
The twelfth forum was held at 7:00 pm EDT on March 30, 2016. This was a four-hour special on MSNBC, with the first hour featuring John Kasich in Queens, New York in a town hall format moderated by Chuck Todd, with the next hour being a town hall with Donald Trump in Green Bay, Wisconsin moderated by Chris Matthews. Rachel Maddow conducted back-to-back one-on-one interviews with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
April 25, 2016 – Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaEdit
The thirteenth forum was held on April 25, 2016 at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on MSNBC. Chris Hayes interviewed Bernie Sanders at 8:00 pm EDT, and Rachel Maddow interviewed Hillary Clinton at 9:00 pm EDT.
Criticism and controversyEdit
Number of debatesEdit
Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley criticized the number of DNC debates, saying that there should have been more debates. The DNC had scheduled six debates, the same number it had scheduled in the previous two contested primaries, 2004 and 2008. Democratic Party candidates are not formally allowed to participate in non-sanctioned debates if they want to participate in the official DNC debates. However, that rule is unenforceable if candidates jointly agree to additional debates or if the sanctioned debates are already over, as was the case in 2016 and in previous years when additional debates were scheduled.
Criticism over the number of debates reached a peak at the DNC's national meeting in Minneapolis on August 28. State Senator Martha Fuller Clark, vice chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, reportedly had an "intense discussion" about the number of debates with DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. During the national meeting, candidate Martin O'Malley criticized DNC officials for the lack of debates. Cecil Benjamin, chair of the Democratic Party of the US Virgin Islands, interrupted the meeting to offer a motion to increase the number of debates; the motion received applause and cheers from the audience.
In early September, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and former Mayor of Minneapolis R. T. Rybak released a statement calling for more debates and for releasing the restrictions imposed to keep candidates from participating in non-DNC debates. Former DNC chair Howard Dean expressed his disappointment in the rule barring candidates from non-DNC debates, saying "It's not right." A small protest took place outside the DNC headquarters in Washington DC on September 16 calling for more debates. On September 18, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi echoed calls for more debates in an interview with The Los Angeles Times.
On September 19, 2015, during her speech at the New Hampshire Democratic Party convention, DNC chair Wasserman Schultz was heckled with shouts for more debates. On September 22, the Vermont Democratic Party sent a letter to the DNC calling for more debates.
Black Lives Matter debateEdit
A week after the first debate was held in Las Vegas, the organization Black Lives Matter (which plays a central part in the movement of the same name) launched a petition targeted at the DNC and chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz demanding more debates, and "specifically for a #BlackLivesMatter themed Presidential debate." The petition received over 10,000 signatures within 24 hours of being launched, and had over 33,000 signatures as of October 27. The DNC said that it would permit presidential candidates to attend a presidential town hall organized by activists, but that it would not add another debate to its official schedule. In response, the organization released a press statement on its Facebook page stating that "[i]n consultation with our chapters, our communities, allies, and supporters, we remain unequivocal that a Presidential Town Hall with support from the DNC does not sufficiently respond to the concerns raised by our members", continuing to demand a full additional debate.
Candidates invited to debateEdit
Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig, who announced his campaign on September 6, criticized the requirement that Democratic candidates must earn at least 1% in three major national polls in the six weeks before the debate. His criticism was centered on the fact that he was excluded from most polls because the Democratic National Committee (DNC) did not officially welcome him to the campaign as it had done for all five other candidates. In the two weeks following his announcement, Lessig was only included in one national poll, in which he met the 1% requirement; other national polls included Vice President Biden, who had yet to announce whether he was running. The day before the CNN debate, the Bloomberg Editorial Board published an editorial entitled, "Let All the Candidates Debate, Democrats," calling for the DNC to include Lessig in the debate, but this demand went unheeded.
Lessig, upon his withdrawal from the campaign, was quoted as saying that "from the start it was clear that getting into the Democratic debates was the essential step in this campaign. I may be known in tiny corners of the tubes of the internets, but I am not well-known to the American public generally." Lessig acknowledged that in order to raise the discussion of campaign finance reform in the 2016 election, getting into debates was key. "But last week, we learned that the Democratic party has changed its rules for inclusion in the debate," he said. The DNC debate-qualifying rule originally required a candidate to poll at least 1% in three national polls during the six weeks prior to a debate. Under the new rule, which Lessig stated was the reason for his campaign suspension, a candidate is required to poll at least 1% in three national polls at least six weeks before a debate. Lessig said that "unless we can time travel, there is no way that I can qualify." He then announced the suspension of his campaign.
Dates with low expected ratingsEdit
The campaigns of both Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley have criticized the days and times for the debates as well as stating that more debates are needed. Of the nine debates, two took place on a Saturday, two on Sunday, three on a Thursday, one on a Tuesday and one on a Wednesday. The choice of Saturday was criticised because it generally has lower television viewership according to Nielsen ratings, with only Friday nights having lower ratings. While the first Democratic debate took place on a Tuesday night and drew 15.3 million viewers, the second Democratic debate took place on a Saturday night and drew only about 8.5 million viewers. The third Democratic debate also took place on a Saturday night, and drew slightly lower but comparable ratings to the second debate. In the event, the Saturday night debates were the third- and fifth-most watched debates.
One of the Saturday night debates took place the Saturday before Christmas, and another took place on Sunday night of Martin Luther King Day weekend, a scheduling that Vox.com says is also expected to make for poor ratings.
Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz has denied claims that the DNC wants to protect frontrunner Hillary Clinton by picking dates that will receive poor viewership.
- Democratic Party presidential primaries, 2016
- Democratic Party presidential candidates, 2016
- Green Party presidential debates and forums, 2016
- Libertarian Party presidential debates and forums, 2016
- Republican Party presidential debates and forums, 2016
- United States presidential election debates, 2016
- Kamisar , Ben (October 21, 2015). "Dems announce new 2016 forum after criticism for lack of debates". The Hill.
- Preston, Mark (May 5, 2015). "First on CNN: Clinton, Democratic presidential opponents to debate six times". CNN.com.
- Wasserman Schultz, Debbie (August 6, 2015). "Announcing the Democratic Debate Schedule". medium.com.
- Gabriel Debenedetti; Hadas Gold (January 30, 2016). "DNC moving to assert control as more Democratic debates agreed". Politico. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
- Greg Sargent (February 3, 2016). "It's on: Looks like we're getting four more Democratic debates". Washington Post. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
- "The 2016 Primary Debate Schedule". Democrats.org. Democratic Party. Archived from the original on 13 April 2016. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
- Corasaniti, Nick (2015-12-11). "Democrats Revoke Debate Sponsorship of WMUR, New Hampshire TV Station". The New York Times - First Draft. Retrieved 2015-12-11.
- Ridley, Gary. (2016-2-22) "Details set for Flint presidential debate with CNN and Anderson Cooper." mlive.com February 23, 2016
- Battaglio, Stephen (February 12, 2016). "Democratic debate with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders draws 8 million viewers on CNN and PBS". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 12, 2016.
- Stelter, Brian (2016-03-07). "Democratic debate draws far fewer viewers than GOP face-off". CNN. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
- Michael O'Connell (March 10, 2016). "TV Ratings: Latest Dem Debate Brings Nearly 6 Million Viewers". The Hollywood Reporter.
- "Democratic debate on CNN draws 5.6 million viewers". Yahoo.com. 2016-04-15. Retrieved 2016-07-18.
- "2016 Democratic Presidential Nomination". Real Clear Politics. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
- Matt Guillermo (September 9, 2015). "Cnn Las Vegas to host Democratic president debate". CNN.
- Preston, Mark (2015-09-28). "CNN debate criteria would allow Joe Biden to participate". CNN.com. Retrieved 2015-09-29.
- Parker, Ashley (September 16, 2015). "Anderson Cooper to Moderate First Democratic Debate". The New York Times.
- "Candidate Criteria for the October 13, 2015 CNN-Facebook Democratic Presidential Primary Debate" (PDF). CNN.com. Retrieved 2015-09-29.
- Fabian, Jordan (2015-10-13). "Biden will watch Dem debate in DC". The Hill. Retrieved 2015-10-13.
- "A polished Clinton parries Sanders in Democratic debate". BBC News. October 14, 2015. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
- Niall Stanage (October 14, 2015). "Clinton scores big in first debate". The Hill. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
- "Who won the first Democratic debate?". CNBC. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
- "Who won CNN Democratic Debate: Clinton, Sanders' performances praised". IB Times. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
- Niall Stanage; Amie Parnes (October 14, 2015). "Dem debate winners and losers". The Hill. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
- Jesse Byrnes (October 14, 2015). "CNN debate sets ratings record for Democrats". The Hill. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
- Ben Kamisar (October 14, 2015). "Sanders: Americans 'sick and tired' of Clinton emails". The Hill. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
- "Who won the Democratic debate on social media?". Time. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
- "Trump picked up more followers during debate than all Democrats combined". Fox News. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
- "AP fact-check: Clinton revises history at Dem debate". ABC News. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
- "Fact-checking the first Democratic debate". USA Today. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
- Merica, Dan; LoBianco, Tom (October 23, 2015). "Lincoln Chafee drops out of Democratic primary race". CNN. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
- Gass, Nick; Strauss, Daniel (October 20, 2015). "Jim Webb drops out of Democratic race". Politico. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
- Gibbs, Palmer (November 14, 2015). "Democratic Debate by the Numbers: Twitter, Talk Time and Google Trends". InsideGov. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
- Weiland, Noah (November 12, 2015). "Everything you need to know about Saturday's Democratic debate". Politico. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- "CBS Shifts Emphasis of Democratic Debate to Reflect Paris Attacks". New York Times. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- "Democratic Debate to Shift Focus After Paris Attacks". Time. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- "Hillary Clinton Takes Heat On Foreign Policy, 9/11 Comment In Debate". Huffington Post. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- "Clinton takes heat for Wall Street, 9/11 comments". Washington Examiner. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- "Clinton invokes 9/11 in countering criticisms of Wall St. donations, takes heat". Fox News. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- "Hillary Clinton Botches Wall Street Questions". The New York Times. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- "The 3rd Democratic debate, in charts". Vox. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
- "Third Democratic Presidential Debate: 9 Moments That Mattered". ABC News. 2015-12-19. Retrieved 2015-12-20.
- Martin, Jonathan; Chozick, Amy (2015-12-19). "In Democratic Debate, Hillary Clinton's Focus Is on G.O.P." The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-12-20.
- "Democratic debate: after Sanders' apology, candidates spar on Isis, taxes and guns – as it happened". The Guardian. 2015-12-19. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
- "How long each candidate spoke". Vox Media. January 17, 2016. Retrieved January 18, 2016.
- "YouTube will stream the Democratic debate on January 17th". The Verge.
- Masonhall, Erika (January 8, 2016). "QUALIFYING CRITERIA FOR NBC NEWS—YOUTUBE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES DEBATE". NBC News. Retrieved January 9, 2016.
- Fix, Team (2016-01-17). "The 4th Democratic debate transcript, annotated: Who said what and what it meant". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
- Cillizza, Chris (January 17, 2015). "Winners and losers from the fourth Democratic presidential debate". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 18, 2016.
- Hohmann, James (January 18, 2015). "The Daily 202: Bernie Sanders won the Democratic debate, say pundits and social media". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 18, 2016.
- Wagner, John (February 1, 2016). "O'Malley suspends presidential bid after a dismal showing in Iowa". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
- "Bustle". www.bustle.com. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
- McMorris-Santoro, Evan. "Sources: NBC News And Union Leader To Announce Unsanctioned Democratic Debate". Buzzfeed News. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
- Kludt, Tom. "Union Leader, booted from GOP debate, to host Democratic debate". Retrieved January 26, 2016.
- "MSNBC to host New Hampshire Democratic debate". MSNBC. January 31, 2016. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
- DeCosta-Klipa, Nik (January 31, 2016). "Democrats agree to debate in New Hampshire this week — but without the Union Leader". Retrieved February 2, 2016.
- Dinan, Stephen. "DNC caves, agrees to sanction more Democratic presidential debates". Washington Times. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
- "Clinton and Sanders Spar Over Campaign Donations". NYMag.
- Rappeport, Alan (2016-02-11). "How to Watch the Democratic Debate in Milwaukee". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-02-11.
- "PBS NewsHour Democratic Debate". PBS. January 11, 2016. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
- "Democratic Presidential Debate w/Facebook and PBS Newshour".
- Anderson Cooper [@andersoncooper] (March 7, 2016). "If you think your candidate got cheated on talk time at last night's debate. Clinton spoke for 42:11. Sanders spoke for 42:41" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- "Flint gets Democratic presidential debate on March 6". Detroit News. February 3, 2016. Retrieved February 3, 2016.
- Preston, Mark (February 7, 2016). "CNN to hold Democratic presidential debate in Flint, Michigan". CNN.com. CNN. Retrieved February 11, 2016.
- "Michigan Democratic Party Pre-Debate Reception". Eventbrite. Retrieved 2016-03-02.
- "CNN drops Donna Brazile as commentator over Wikileaks revelations". The Sydney Morning Herald. November 1, 2016. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
- "Miami Dade College To Host Democratic Presidential Debate". wlrn.org. Retrieved 2016-01-08.
- "DNC/Florida Democratic Party Primary Debate Hosted by Univision News and The Washington Post to Take Place at the Nation's Largest and Most Diverse College, Miami Dade College, on March 9, 2016 - Univision". Univision. Archived from the original on February 2, 2016. Retrieved January 8, 2016.
- Avendaño, Alberto (2015-12-18). "Él impulsa el debate hispano entre los precandidatos demócratas". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2016-01-08.
- "Univision/Washington Post Democratic debate to be held March 9". POLITICO. Retrieved 2016-01-08.
- Stelter, Brian (April 4, 2016). "Clinton, Sanders to meet for Brooklyn debate". CNN. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
- Brian Stelter, Host (April 4, 2016). "Clinton, Sanders to meet for Brooklyn debate". CNN.
- "Clinton declines to debate Sanders in California". CNN. CNN.
- "MSNBC's Rachel Maddow to moderate 2016 Democratic forum at Winthrop". The State. October 7, 2015.
- "MSNBC's Rachel Maddow will bring Southern focus to forum". Charlotte Observer. November 4, 2015.
- "S.C. Democrats to host three presidential candidates in Rock Hill". The Greenville News. October 7, 2015.
- Lessig, Laurence. "I'm Trying to Run for President, but the Democrats Won't Let Me". Retrieved October 1, 2015.
- "Why Is Lawrence Lessig Missing From Tonight's CNN Debate?". vice.com. 13 October 2015.
- "Larry Lessig ends presidential campaign, citing unfair debate rules". washingtonpost.com.
- Gambino, Lauren (18 September 2015). "Democratic candidate Lawrence Lessig decries 'catch-22' TV debate eligibility". the Guardian.
- "Dem. debate stage would look empty without Lessig, says supporters". aljazeera.com.
- "Three Republican candidates speak at anti-gay pastor's rally". MSNBC. Retrieved 2015-11-23.
- "2016 Presidential Forum". moveon.org.
- Strauss, Daniel (November 2, 2015). "Lessig drops out of presidential race". Politico. Retrieved November 2, 2015.
- "Watch the MoveOn 2016 Presidential Forum". 2016 Presidential Forum. Retrieved 2015-11-26.
- Gold, Hadas (November 19, 2015). "Fusion to host Democratic presidential forum". Politico. Politico. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
- Bradner, Eric (January 26, 2016). "5 takeaways from the Democratic town hall". CNN. CNN. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
- Metzler, Rebekah (January 31, 2016). "Dem candidates to attend New Hampshire town hall". CNN. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
- "Nevada Democrats plan Hillary, Bernie town hall in Las Vegas". Las Vegas Sun. February 9, 2016. Archived from the original on February 13, 2016. Retrieved February 15, 2016.
- "Nevada Democrats plan Hillary, Bernie town hall in Las Vegas". CNN. February 19, 2016. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
- "Fox News Will Hold Democratic Town Hall Next Week; Only One Candidate Set to Appear". Archived from the original on 2016-03-07. Retrieved 2016-03-04.
- "CNN, TV One to host presidential town hall". CNN. March 13, 2016. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
- Katz, A.J. (April 25, 2016). "MSNBC to Present Monday Night Democratic Town Halls". Adweek. Retrieved April 25, 2016.
- "Election 2016: Bernie Sanders "not really" happy about DNC's debate schedule". CBS News. August 10, 2015.
- Eugene Scott (August 6, 2015). "Martin O'Malley criticizes Democratic Party over debates". CNN.
- Harry Enten (2016-05-06). "Is Six Democratic Debates Too Few?". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 2017-09-07.
- Jacobs, Ben (2015-08-06). "Democratic primary debate schedule criticized as Clinton 'coronation'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-09-23.
- "Clinton And Sanders Agree To More Debates, Argue Over Details". NPR. January 30, 2017. Retrieved September 7, 2017.
- Dinan, Elizabeth (2015-08-28). "Fuller Clark challenges DNC chair for more presidential debates". Seacoastonline.com. Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Retrieved 2015-09-23.
- "O'Malley blasts Wasserman Schultz in front of DNC meeting". Washington Times.
- "Two D.N.C. Officials Call for Adding More Debates". New York Times. September 9, 2015.
- "Does the Sanders surge pose a serious threat to Hillary? Howard Dean weighs in". Washington Post.
- "Is the Democratic National Committee in the Tank for Hillary?". Daily Beast.
- "Pelosi joins calls to add more Democratic primary debates". CNN.
- "DNC chair heckled with calls for more debates". CNN.
- "Vermont Democrats Call For More Presidential Debates". WAMC Northeast Public Radio.
- "The #BlackLivesMatter Network Urges the Democratic National Committee to host a #BlackLivesMatter Themed Presidential Debate" (Press release). #BlackLivesMatter Organization. October 20, 2015. Retrieved 2015-12-23.
- "We Demand a Black Lives Matter Presidential Debate". salsa4.salsalabs.com. Retrieved 2015-10-31.
- "Press statement on DNC response". www.facebook.com/BlackLivesMatter (Press release). Black Lives Matter network. Retrieved 2015-10-31.
- "Mobile Uploads - Black Lives Matter | Facebook". www.facebook.com/BlackLivesMatter. Retrieved 2015-10-31.
- Lowery, Wesley (2015-10-21). "DNC and RNC won't add a debate, but give their blessings to Black Lives Matter presidential town hall". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2015-10-31.
- "Democratic candidate Lawrence Lessig decries 'catch-22' TV debate eligibility". The Guardian.
- "Democrat Debate Controversy: Will Lawrence Lessig Be Included?". Forbes.
- Bloomberg View Editorial Board (October 12, 2015). "Let All the Candidates Debate, Democrats". Bloomberg View.
- Strauss, Daniel (November 2, 2015). "Lessig drops out of presidential race". Politico. Retrieved November 2, 2015.
- "Disappointing debate ratings spark Democratic campaign complaints". Politico. Retrieved 2015-11-25.
- "The myths Democrats swallowed that cost them the Presidential election".
- Newell, Jim (2015-11-09). "Democrats Just Can't Muster That Much Enthusiasm for 2016". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved 2015-11-12.
- "Democrats scheduled debates on days when no one will watch". Vox. Retrieved 2015-11-12.
- "How many people watched the first Democratic debate?". www.cbsnews.com. Retrieved 2015-11-25.
- Steel, Emily (2015-11-15). "More Than 8.5 Million Watched Democratic Debate on CBS". The New York Times - First Draft. Retrieved 2015-11-25.
- Gold, Hadas (2015-12-21). "Preliminary ABC Democratic debate numbers: Not bad". Politico. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
- "Democrats scheduled debates on days when no one will watch". vox.com.
- Video of the November 6, 2015 forum in Rock Hill, South Carolina
- Video of MoveOn's November 24, 2015 virtual forum
- Video of the January 11, 2016 forum in Des Moines, State of Iowa
- Video of the February 18, 2016 forum in Las Vegas, State of Nevada
- Video of the April 14, 2016 debate in Brooklyn, New York
- Video of the February 23, 2016 forum in Columbia, South Carolina