Nate Jackson / October 13, 2015

CNN to Help Democrats Avoid Actual Debate

Moderator says, “I think these are all serious people.”

Democrats are gearing up for their first presidential debate on CNN Tuesday night. Republicans have already had two debates, but Democrats are just now getting around to acknowledging that there are more candidates than just Hillary Clinton. The frontrunner will be joined on stage by the surprising Bernie “I’m a Democratic Socialist” Sanders, and some other guys no one’s heard of — former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb and former Republican Lincoln Chaffee of Rhode Island. But if you’re hoping for big hits similar to those in the GOP debate, you’ll be better off watching the MLB playoffs. (We’d recommend the latter anyway.)

“The level of humility and seriousness in this debate will be stark compared to what has been happening in the Republican debates,” said Democrat strategist Stephanie Cutter. CNN got the memo. The network is downplaying ratings expectations — nowhere near the 23 million who tuned in for the GOP — and it’s preparing for a generally more toned down affair. Moderator Anderson Cooper said of Jake Tapper’s GOP debate at the Reagan Library, “I’m always uncomfortable with that notion of setting people up in order to kind of promote some sort of a face-off. I think these are all serious people. This is a serious debate. They want to talk about the issues, and I want to give them an opportunity to do that.”

In other words, CNN will make the Republicans wrestle in the mud with the narcissist Donald Trump while helping Democrats look like “serious people.” After all, that motley crew will need all the help they can get.

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