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Twenty Candidates On The Big Stage: How The Democratic Presidential Debates Will Be Conducted

The moderators for the upcoming presidential debate have been set.
The moderators for the upcoming presidential debate have been set.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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On Tuesday, NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo announced its picks for five Democrat debate moderators. Lester Holt, Savannah Guthrie, Chuck Todd, Rachel Maddow and José Díaz-Balart will be moderating the Miami-based two hour debates on June 26 and 27.

Up to ten candidates will be appearing during each debate, and the mix of candidates has yet to be announced.

Moderators have faced heat in the past over their performance, and this coming campaign season will likely be no different. What is the role and significance of moderators?

Plus, with such a crowded primary field on the democratic side, the format echoes back to the 2016 Republican primary debates. What lessons can be gleaned from 2016?

Today, we’ll dive into presidential debates – what’s their importance? Who do they most benefit? What’s the dynamic between the party conventions, the cable networks and the candidates themselves in terms of setting the format?


Zach Montellaro, campaign reporter and author of the Morning Score newsletter at POLITICO; he tweets @ZachMontellaro

Mitchell McKinney, professor of communication and the director of the Political Communications Institute at the University of Missouri; his research interests include presidential debates, presidential rhetoric and political campaigns