MSNBC Road Warrior Ali Vitali is at the fifth 2020 Democratic primary debate in Atlanta, Georgia. She explains what makes primary debates different from general election debates and what viewers will be keeping an eye on.
Hitting the Stage - What are Primary Debates?
ALI VITALI, reporting:
Hi, I’m Ali Vitali, MSNBC Road Warrior here at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. Tonight, 10 Democratic candidates will take the stage in the fifth Democratic primary debate. If you’ve turned on the news over the past few months. You’ve probably seen them battling it out on other debate stages.
So, what are primary debates and why do we have them? In the early part of the campaign, before you get to the general election, candidates from the same party all get up on stage and talk about why they think they’re the best person to run for this job and represent the Democratic party in the general election. So, Democrats debate Democrats, and Republicans debate other Republicans. With so many people running for president, it can be hard to stand out on the debate stage. So, the candidates take to the campaign trail, crisscrossing the country, talking with voters face to face about the issues that matter to them. Then they’re ready for primetime…debate night. Moderators for these events tend to be reporters and journalists from the organizations that host them, like our own Chuck Todd in June 2019.
CHUCK TODD: It’s very plausible you’d be getting elected president with a Republican senate...
VITALI: Moderators keep time, ask questions, and sometimes even play referee.
TIM RYAN: I have something to add to this briefly.
RACHEL MADDOW: We’ll give you 30 seconds for follow up on that answer from Secretary Castro. Congressman Ryan…
VITALI: Here in Atlanta, there’s no clear frontrunner on the stage, so all of the candidates are going to be mixing it up on the issues, from impeachment to climate change. The moderators- four journalists from NBC and The Washington Post, all who happen to be women, asking questions and keeping the candidates on their toes.
Even if you think you know who you’re going to vote for, it’s important to keep an open mind. On the debate stage, a candidate may raise an issue that you haven’t heard them talk about before or they may tell you something new about themselves. All in the name of trying to get you to vote for them as the next person who could represent the Democratic party in the general.
I’m Ali Vitali. Keep checking back for more Decision 2020 content from NBC News Learn.
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