Who are the presidential debate moderators? Luckily it’s a diverse group
For political junkies, this is the most wonderful time of the year. Presidential debates can sometimes be a snoozefest, but with Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton already running pretty nasty campaigns against each other, the 2016 debates are bound to be a complete and utter circus (without elephants, of course). The debates are supposed to be fair and balanced, but that all really depends on who the presidential debate moderators are.
This year, the Commission for Presidential Debates (CPD) tried to bring a diverse group of moderators from major networks like ABC, CBS, NBC, and even Fox News. There’s a black man, two women, a conservative host, and a gay man moderating, but Univision is rightfully upset there isn’t a Hispanic moderator — especially since Trump is running a campaign based on his absurd ideas on immigration reform and building a wall between Mexico and America. A little Jorge Ramos, who was booted from a Trump press conference during the primaries, would have been a welcome addition.
Then again, the CPD said in a statement that it doesn’t want the debates to become about the moderators. For sure, if Ramos or say, Fox’s Megyn Kelly, were moderating, Trump would be complaining about their bias instead of talking about the issues. He’s certainly done that before, and even accused the first debate moderator, Lester Holt, of being a Democrat, even though Holt is a registered Republican.
This is all going to be major shitshow. Here’s a breakdown of who’ll be trying to corral the candidates.
Lester Holt: First debate, Sept. 26 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York
Holt is is the anchor of NBC Nightly News and will be moderating the first debate. Holt’s already announced the topics of the first debate, though they are subject to change, and with the recent protests in Charlotte, North Carolina, it’s likely he might change it up. But, his plan is to ask about “America’s Direction,” “Achieving Prosperity” and “Securing America,” according to Politico.
Anderson Cooper & Martha Raddatz: Second debate, Oct. 9 at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri
CNN’s Cooper will co-host the second debate with ABC News’ Raddatz. The format will be more like a town hall, and although the hosts will choose the topics, the questions will be initiated by audience members selected by the Gallup Organization, so there should be a good mix of opinions in the crowd.
The candidates will each get two minutes to answer questions and then the moderators will get to follow up and give them another minute. Let’s hope they dig in — Trump has already claimed Cooper will be “unfair,” but both Raddatz and the CNN anchor have a history of being tough on all candidates.
Chris Wallace: Third debate, Oct. 19 at University of Nevada, Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada
Wallace hosts Fox News Sunday. He’s been with Fox since 2003, but has been in the broadcasting business for 50 years. He co-moderated the first GOP primary debate last summer along with Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly, so he should be ready to let Trump ramble.
Elaine Quijano: Vice presidential debate, Oct. 4 at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia
Quijano is the anchor of CBSN, which is CBS News’ 24-hour digital streaming channel. She’s also often featured on CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley and CBS This Morning. Quijano has been covering the election extensively and will moderate a debate made of up of nine segments, each 10 minutes long. She’ll be able to fill up time with follow-up questions to direct the conversation.
This debate season is going to be a little crazy, and more than ever, these moderators are going to have to keep it clean, fair, and make sure they’re asking tough questions. If not, Twitter will probably have their careers.