As Sanders Skewers DNC, Would-Be Home for Progressives Assailed as 'Dead Carcass'
After Saturday’s debate drew the lowest TV ratings so far this primary season, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is under fire—yet again—for setting a schedule that rival candidates say was designed deliberately to “protect” frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
According to Nielsen data out on Sunday, roughly 6.71 million viewers tuned in to the third 2016 Democratic debate, which aired during prime time the Saturday before Christmas. In comparison, the first and second Democratic debates drew 15.3 million and 8.5 million viewers, respectively, while the three most viewed Republican debates saw 25 million, 23 million, and 18 million viewers.
When asked following Saturday’s match up if he thought the DNC scheduled the debate deliberately to minimize viewership, Sen. Bernie Sanders stated, “Yes, I do.”
“I hope a lot of people watched the debate tonight,” the Vermont senator told New Hampshire’s ABC affiliate WMUR. “I think it was a good debate, but I think there is a desire on the part of the DNC to protect Secretary Clinton.”
Sanders also pointed to the October 13 debate in Iowa, which he noted was scheduled the same evening as a big Iowa football game. “Do you think that’s a coincidence?” he asked.
“I think everybody understands that Hillary Clinton, who I have a lot of respect for, is the establishment candidate,” he added. “Virtually the entire establishment is supporting her—including the leadership of the DNC.”
That opinion was shared by Sanders’ other rival, former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, who on Sunday said he believes that the party had scheduled the debates intentionally to shield Clinton. ”In fact,” O’Malley continued, “that’s also why, for the first time ever, they have limited the number of debates to just four.”
The next Democratic face-off will be held in Charleston, South Carolina on January 17, the Sunday of Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.
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