Bernie Sanders is quite wise to refuse to participate in a debate in New Hampshire that hasn’t been blessed by the Democratic Party establishment (the Democratic National Committee, which actually is just a one-man show in Debbie Wasserman Schultz [yes, I wrote “man” on purpose]).
Reports The Associated Press:
Hillary Clinton’s campaign is pushing Bernie Sanders to participate in a newly proposed Democratic debate — one not sanctioned by the Democratic National Committee — to be held just days before the New Hampshire primary.
But Sanders, who has surged ahead of Clinton in New Hampshire polls, has no plans to do so, his campaign said.
“The DNC has said this would be an unsanctioned debate, so we would not want to jeopardize our ability to participate in future debates,” Sanders’ campaign manager Jeff Weaver said.
[The DNC/DWS proclaimed before this primary debate season began that any candidate who participates in a debate not sanctioned by the DNC will be disqualified from participating in all future DNC-sanctioned debates. There are only two more DNC-sanctioned debates in the Democratic Party primary season: February 11 in Wisconsin and March 9 in Florida.]
Television network MSNBC and the Union Leader, New Hampshire’s largest newspaper, announced [announced or proposed?] the new debate [yesterday], citing “overwhelming” calls from voters for another forum prior to the state’s February 9 primary.
The proposal comes as Clinton and Sanders are locked in a tight race in first-to-vote Iowa and Clinton is trying to close the gap on Sanders in New Hampshire. Clinton’s campaign had pushed for fewer debates earlier in the campaign, but now says she will participate in the forum if her competitors do.
“Hillary Clinton would be happy to participate in a debate in New Hampshire if the other candidates agree, which would allow the DNC to sanction the debate,” Clinton spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri said.
Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s campaign said he plans to attend.
The DNC has sanctioned six debates and said in a statement [last] night it plans to “reconvene” with the candidates after voting in Iowa and New Hampshire to talk about further debates.
Weaver said Sanders hopes there will be at least three or four more debates following the two remaining scheduled debates planned in Wisconsin and Florida. He said the process required a “rational, thought-out schedule of debates, not just ad hoc debates scheduled when a network decides they want to have one.”
The Sanders camp is quite correct not to fall for this trap.
Unless the DNC officially sanctioned the proposed debate before the February 9 New Hampshire primary, by its own established rules for this primary debate season, the DNC easily could disqualify all three candidates from any future debates even if all three candidates agreed to participate in the unsanctioned debate before New Hampshire votes.
Given how tight Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Billary Clinton are, it’s entirely possible that what Billary wants is just one last debate, which would come just before New Hampshire, where Bernie Sanders is leading her by double digits (see here and here).
Recall that Team Billary won’t shut up about their supposed post-Iowa-and-post-New-Hampshire “firewall.” If such a “firewall” truly exists, then politically, Team Billary wouldn’t need any more debates after Iowa and New Hampshire – yet Bernie Sanders would. So how convenient it would be for him to be banned from all debates after Iowa and New Hampshire weigh in!
And it’s not just that Bernie Sanders already has New Hampshire in the bag and so politically he doesn’t need a debate before New Hampshire votes; again, it’s that neither Billary nor Wasserman Schultz can be trusted. Wasserman Schultz, who sorely needs to be replaced, has been trying to rig the game for Billary from Day One.
So let Team Billary make its elementary-school-playground-level taunts that Billary will debate before New Hampshire but Bernie Sanders won’t!
Unless the DNC officially sanctioned a debate before New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders would be a fool to participate in it – and he is no fool.
P.S. Martin O’Malley, who can’t get out of the low single digits in any of the polls, of course has less than nothing to lose, so he’ll agree to anything.