What the Democrats should have learned from Republicans' 2016 debates

Will next week's debates be entertaining? Sure. Enlightening? Not so much.

(Image credit: Illustrated | ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images, Sean Rayford/Getty Images, Scott Olson/Getty Images, IMOGI/iStock, -slav-/iStock)

Democrats learned a lesson from their presidential primaries in 2016. Too bad they didn't learn a lesson from Republicans too. Instead, thanks to their desperation to maintain the perception of a fair playing field, the first round of presidential primary debates next week promises to be a debacle, one that will leave Democrats vulnerable to pointless grandstanding and worse.

Four years ago, the Democratic National Committee did its best to protect its presumed front-runner from any internecine damage in the primaries. The DNC, under pressure from Hillary Clinton, scheduled few debates, and held them at times not terribly conducive to viewing. They only held four debates before the Iowa caucuses, three of them on the weekends, one of which was scheduled between Hanukkah and Christmas. On top of that, DNC committee member and future chair Donna Brazile passed along debate questions to the Clinton campaign from her perch at CNN on at least two occasions before being exposed in the DNC-John Podesta email hack. Brazile denied the reports at first, but later claimed that she gave assistance to both Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

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Edward Morrissey

Edward Morrissey has been writing about politics since 2003 in his blog, Captain's Quarters, and now writes for HotAir.com. His columns have appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Post, The New York Sun, the Washington Times, and other newspapers. Morrissey has a daily Internet talk show on politics and culture at Hot Air. Since 2004, Morrissey has had a weekend talk radio show in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and often fills in as a guest on Salem Radio Network's nationally-syndicated shows. He lives in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota with his wife, son and daughter-in-law, and his two granddaughters. Morrissey's new book, GOING RED, will be published by Crown Forum on April 5, 2016.