Democrats Will Have Female And Nonwhite Moderator At Each 2020 Debate

The Democratic National Committee set new requirements for its primary debates, which will have a historically diverse field of presidential candidates.

The Democratic National Committee said Thursday it is committed to having at least one woman and one person of color (sometimes the same person) as moderator at each of its primary debates for the 2020 presidential election ― for the first time ever.  

The DNC, the Democratic Party’s governing body, set a requirement to have at least one woman as moderator for its 12 upcoming debates, Refinery29 first reported. A DNC official told HuffPost each of the debates also will have at least one person of color moderating.

“The DNC is committed to an inclusive and fair debate process. That means that all 12 DNC sanctioned debates will feature a diverse group of moderators and panelists including women and people of color, ensuring that the conversations reflect the concerns of all Americans,” DNC senior adviser Mary Beth Cahill said in a statement. 

Feminist group UltraViolet had been campaigning for weeks for major networks to include women and people of color as moderators in the upcoming primary and general election debates. 

In 2016, PBS’s Judy Woodruff and the late Gwen Ifill made history as the first women to moderate a Democratic primary debate without being accompanied by any male moderators. Several of the 2016 Democratic primary debates were moderated solely by men, including CNN’s Chris Cuomo, Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer.  

In the crowded 2020 presidential race, there are more than 20 Democratic candidates, including several women and people of color ― the most diverse group in a presidential race ever. 

The DNC has announced it will host 12 primary debates, with the first in June. In an effort to narrow the field, the DNC detailed certain rules to qualify: for the first two debates this summer, candidates have to poll at 1% support or more in three party-approved polls or receive donations from 65,000 donors in at least 20 states; for the third debate, in September, a candidate must poll at least 2% support in four party-approved polls and have 130,000 donors in at least 20 states.

This story has been updated to note UltraViolet’s campaign for women and people of color to be included as moderators in the debates.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated NBC’s Lester Holt moderated a Democratic debate by himself in 2016. He co-hosted the debate with his NBC colleague Andrea Mitchell.