Democratic debate candidates and moderators discuss their plans for the coming days, as the party grapples with its most contentious and divisive presidential contest in decades.
In a wide-ranging interview, CNN political editor Jake Tapper said the Democratic race has seen a series of candidates come and go, and that the party needs to find a “safe” way to keep the momentum going.
“We’ve seen candidates who were not very good and some who were very good, and the fact that the voters are now seeing a number of them that are pretty good and a lot of them are not very bad, we need to find that balance,” Tapper told reporters at the CNN Democratic debate.
The Democratic debate on Wednesday is being moderated by former Gov.
Martin O’Malley of Maryland, former Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former Maryland Gov.
Sheila Oliver, who are expected to participate.
It will also feature former Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Govs.
Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, John Kasich of Ohio, Sarah Palin of Alaska and Jeb Bush of Florida.
The candidates have until the final debate, which will be held Thursday in Cleveland, Ohio, to officially declare their candidacies.
In recent days, CNN has published a list of candidates, highlighting their political backgrounds, policy stances and how they might be able to help unite the party and elect Democrats to Congress in 2018.
Tapper said that although Biden, O’Meara, Sanders and Oliver all have been endorsed by the DNC, the Democratic primary is not the only factor influencing the candidates.
He said the other factors are what they’re known for, and how the party views the race.
“What’s been true for the last week is that the primary debate format is not an issue.
That’s the way the Democrats are going to run the Democratic Party,” he said.
In addition to the candidates, CNN also interviewed six debate participants, including former Vice president Joe Biden and former U.S. Sen. Jon Tester of Montana.
CNN also invited former Gov Jim Webb, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, former Gov Joe Heck of Nevada, Sen and former Sen-elect Tim Kaine of Virginia, and former Massachusetts Gov.
Deval Patrick, who is also running for president.
The panelists discussed how the Democratic candidates are positioned to win the party’s nomination and whether they could potentially unite the nation to elect Democrats, and whether the party should be focusing on building up the Democratic base and getting more women and minorities to vote.
Tapping into the broader issues that have driven the race, CNN’s Chris Cillizza said the debate format has made the process of deciding who to vote for easier.
“You don’t have to look at a party platform or a candidate platform to know who’s the strongest candidate, who’s going to get elected, who might win, who has a chance,” Cillizzi said.
“The Democratic Party is the party of hope and change.
It’s not a party of division.
It was founded to change our country for the better.”
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