Democrats have scheduled six debates to help party members decide who the nominee of their party will be for 2016. Six. If that sounds like a low number, you’re right. Lori Miller is trying to increase that number with her petition to DNC Chairperson, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. Her petition asks Democratic Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz “to sponsor more than six sanctioned Democratic Presidential Debates, and that they begin that debate schedule this summer.”
On Twitter, the hashtag used to support the request for more debates is #WeWantDebates. Lori agreed to answer a few questions about her petition which currently has over 17,000 signatures.
Victor Tiffany: When did you start your petition?
Lori Miller: The petition was started on June 12, 2015.
VT: The petition has over 17,000 signatures. Is the Change.org petition configured to send an email to Wasserman-Schultz every time it’s signed?
LM: The petition does not notify Debbie Wasserman Schultz each time it is signed.
VT: When do you expect to deliver the petition to Rep. Wasserman-Schultz, and how will you deliver it?
LM: To be determined. It is gaining several hundred signatures per day, and I feel that the more signatures I collect, the stronger the petition will be. That being said, the debates need to start sooner than October, so I will need to weigh the number of signatures versus the timing of the delivery of the petition. I am also not sure, at this time, how the petition will actually be delivered. I hope that I, or my representative, will be able to deliver it in person, but the details on that have not been finalized.
VT: Why do you believe six debates won’t be sufficient for informing the people?
LM: In 2008, the DNC held no less than twenty debates.Apparently, they believed that all of those debates were necessary then! Why only six this year? As I stated earlier, there are so many issues to be covered, that there would need to be many more debates scheduled in order to touch on all of them. The debates are also scheduled to be held too late in the election cycle. Only 2 of the 6 debates will be held before the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire Primary. Furthermore, debates should be sponsored by different organizations, so as to concentrate on certain issues that are important to the organizations sponsoring the debates. The DNC has imposed a ridiculous new requirement that candidates are not allowed to debate in any forum other than those sanctioned by the DNC. Martin O’Malley’s campaign has stated that that requirement is not legally enforceable. In my opinion, this is just another attempt to limit debates to stack the deck in favor of Hillary Clinton.
VT: With only six debates scheduled do you feel that the DNC is purposely trying to protect Hillary Clinton from criticism by her rivals for the nomination?
LM: I believe that the DNC is absolutely trying to shield Hillary Clinton from any form of criticism by anyone. The DNC is afraid that Hillary’s stances on the issues will not be as popular as those of the other Democratic candidates. Further, I believe that there is corporate money behind their actions. I do not believe that six debates will be sufficient for the American people to see the candidates side-by-side, and allow them to compare their stances on the issues. There are so many issues to be debated, that there would need to be many more debates scheduled in order to touch on all of them. I firmly believe that the DNC and Hillary are afraid for her to debate her opposing candidates. The American people deserve to know what Hillary (and the other candidates) stand for and believe, so that they can make an informed decision. The people should select the candidate they feel best represents their interests. That decision is not up to the DNC. Therefore, more debates are necessary in order to bring to the forefront, all of the candidates’ stances on the issues.
VT: Do you think Wasserman-Schultz will be influenced by the opinion of 20,00 – 30,000 thousand citizens? She did, after all, vote for the fast-track bill against the wills of millions of Americans.
LM: I have no idea whether Ms. Wasserman-Schultz will be influenced by this petition. I do know that many Bernie Sanders supporters have been inundating the DNC with e-mails, letters, phone calls and facebook requests for more and earlier debates. This petition is a collective expression of the frustration that people feel with the DNC. The more people express their views, the more likely it is that the DNC will listen to the will of the people, and realize that we will not accept the coronation of their chosen candidate without a fight. We are the ones who should be choosing which candidate gets the Democratic nomination! We will not stand by quietly, while the DNC attempts to “coronate” their chosen one. All we are asking is that the candidates have a fair chance to debate the issues and make their platforms known to the largest audience of voters possible. Give voters an ample chance to become informed and let the people decide!
VT: If Senator Sanders does not secure the Democratic Party nomination, will you vote for Secretary Clinton in the general election next year?
LM: Hillary is not an option! I will never vote for Hillary, under any circumstances. For me, it’s Bernie or bust!
Last night Lori sent petition signers a message: “We’re Going for 20,000!!!!!!…Keep signing and sharing!”
If the primary system is a rigged as it seems, 100,000 signatures would not matter. Bernie Sanders supporters are going to have to “up the ante.” Instead of saying “please,” perhaps Sanders’ supporters need to demand: Bernie or else! Maybe that is what Miller’s petition suggests when it states “If Senator Sanders is not allowed to be heard, through more sanctioned debates…Many of [Sanders’ supporters] will vote for Senator Sanders as a write-in candidate.”