The draw to determine which candidates debate on the first night and which candidates debate on the second night of the first Democratic presidential primary/caucus debate has been held, and a lot of the discussion about it has focused on Elizabeth Warren being the only one of the five candidates who, based on current opinion polling, are largely seen as having a reasonable chance of winning the Democratic nomination, to get a debate spot in the “orange” debate, with Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, and Kamala Harris all being drawn into the “purple” debate:
It’s not clear whether NBC, which holds the broadcast rights to the debate, will air the orange or purple debate on the first night. Warren being the only candidate who is currently polling consistently at several percent or higher (in fact, one poll had Warren within a typical polling margin of error of taking the lead in California, a delegate-rich state that moved its primary from to March for 2020) has already resulted in a lot of chatter on social media, which was summarized by The Nation magazine’s Joan Walsh:
I’m a Warren supporter, for full disclosure, but I’m of the opinion that Warren got a very favorable draw. I do understand the argument that the “orange” debate will probably get lower TV ratings due to Warren being well ahead of the candidates that she’s debating against in polling, although the “orange” debate is going to be about as close to an infomercial for Warren’s campaign as she could ask for from a debate. The position that Warren is in is analogous to a golfer with a morning tee time having favorable weather conditions early in the final round of a major golf tournament while the leaders, with afternoon tee times, having to play in poor weather conditions later in the day. Warren doesn’t have to go negative at all in her debate, whereas Bernie is probably going to force Biden, Buttigieg, and Kamala to, at the very least, go negative on Bernie in response to Bernie’s inevitable criticisms of his debate opponents. This is going to help Warren greatly.