CNN Debate Rules Protect Dems From Their Own Extremism

The most interesting part of the NBC/MSNBC debates was when candidates were asked to raise their hands if they supported radical positions like taking away everyone's health insurance or legalizing illegal migration.

Senator Kamala Harris' campaign is still suffering from the fallout after she backed taking away everyone's health insurance.

But CNN is making sure that problem won't repeat itself.

CNN has set ground rules for the second Democratic presidential primary debate later this month -- and there are some notable departures from how NBC handled the first event.

One rule, which CNN said it laid down to representatives of more than 20 candidates in a phone call Tuesday: “There will be no show of hands or one-word, down-the-line questions.“

Those questions were some of the most illuminating -- and to some candidates, frustrating -- of last month’s debate. They showed that the Democratic candidates uniformly support health insurance for undocumented immigrants -- a position President Donald Trump quickly seized on. “That’s the end of the race,” he tweeted.

Another question highlighted that three candidates -- Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio -- would eliminate private health insurance and replace it with Medicare for all.

Those questions are helpful, in a huge field, for defining everyone's positions. 

Without those questions, much of the debate came down to candidates reciting talking points and spewing spin.

CNN doesn't want to actually force the 2020 candidates to take positions that would demonstrate their radicalism.

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