Some predictions for the first Democratic presidential debate

Democratic presidential candidates finally meet Tuesday, tonight, on the same stage for their first primary debate.

Some predictions:

  • Hillary Clinton is going to crush it. The Republican PAC America Rising has a new ad out with clips from Clinton debating back in 2008. It’s meant to make fun of her but anyone watching it actually sees a Hillary with some fire. It will be refreshing to see that again after an already long campaign for her that’s been swallowed up by the email controversy.
  • People will finally hear Bernie Sanders‘ farfetched ideas and his numbers will fall. Until now, the buzz has been about Sanders’ “massive crowds” and how he’s a “real threat” to Clinton. Voters will get to see what he’s really about and it’s not what most people want.
  • Martin O’Malley needs a standout moment. He’ll get it by going after Sanders.
  • Nobody cares about Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee

They should call the DNC’s bluff

Democratic presidential candidates Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders, in addition to a bunch of the party’s activists and operatives, want more debates. But the Democratic National Committee says that if they participate in any debates outside of the six DNC-sanctioned debates, the candidates will be excluded them from any of the official ones.

So what should they do?

They should call the DNC’s bluff.

Is it really feasible that any of the Democrats would participate in a debate outside of the official ones, and that the DNC would then say, “Okay, sorry, you’re no longer welcome to the ones we’ve approved. Bye.”

What would party activists do in that case?

Probably stop giving money, at the least.

Or maybe not vote in the primary or general election.

O’Malley, Sanders and Hillary Clinton, who has also said she is open to more debates, should agree to meet for debates outside the official ones. They all know it’s better to give voters more opportunities to see them talk (though Clinton knows it’s potentially detrimental to her frontrunner status if she gives attention to the guys trailing behind her).

And what would the DNC say if the candidates did do more debates? “We told you not to.” Okay, so what? “So you can’t be in our debates.” Why? “Because we said not to.” Why? “Because we said so.”

That’s not going to work.