California Democrats have achieved a unique example of hypocrisy. Not a single Democrat running for statewide office in the sunshine state has decided to debate their opponent in the prelude to the upcoming election. In an unprecedented show of silence, Democrats are choosing to put their faith in California’s liberal voter base to win statewide office without even defending their values and platforms.
Joel B. Pollak; September 15, 2022
They claim to be “defending democracy,” but not one of the Democratic Party candidates for statewide office in California has agreed to debate his or her opponent, rejecting what many voters see as a key part of the democratic process.
As CalMatters notes:
As Election Day approaches, you’re likely to spot Gov. Gavin Newsom popping up inplenty of television ads. You’ll see state controller candidate Malia Cohen on her various social media feeds. Attorney General Rob Bonta will be busy attending plenty of press conferences.
But what are the odds that voters will catch any of these Democrats at a televised political debate? Don’t bet on it.
That’s over the strenuous objections of their three Republican opponents and the state GOP. For weeks, controller candidate Lanhee Chen has been calling on Cohen — sometimes accompanied by a dancing chicken — to meet him on the debate stage.
On Tuesday, two other GOP candidates for statewide office joined the call. State Sen. Brian Dahle, who is running a long-shot campaign to unseat Newsom, cheered on Fox 11 anchor Elex Michaelson after the reporter offered to moderate a gubernatorial debate. Two hours later, attorney general candidate Nathan Hochman challenged Bonta to not one, but three debates — at minimum.
Democrats have rejected all of these requests for debates, though media outlets have been interested in hosting them. Breitbart News has even responded favorably to a general call from Hochman’s campaign to media outlets to host debates — to no avail.
The refusal to debate is unprecedented.
In 2014, then-incumbent Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, agreed to debate his opponent, Republican Neal Kashkari, despite the fact that Brown led widely in the polls. Brown was widely considered to have lost the debate — largely for lack of practice against political opposition in a state where his party dominates and the media largely plays along. He went on to win reelection by a wide margin anyway — but at least he had faced his opponent.
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