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So many questions, so little time

CNN’s second round of Democratic presidential candidate debates began last night with 10 of the 20 invited candidates. The other 10 will debate tonight, similar to the last debate.

This is a cumbersome, unwieldy debate format, giving such a large number of debaters a mere 60 seconds to answer so many substantial questions on issues like health care, foreign policy, immigration policy, crime and safety and controlling the national debt. It’s really not enough time to analyze and explain answers and stances on complex issues.

Instead, the top five or six candidates will be working to burnish their standing, or avoid the kind of misstep that could knock them out of contention. The rest will seeking to get attention, to make an impression, to try to earn a spot in the upper tier.

For many candidates, these debates will be make or break time. If they can’t get the attention of the voters or the donors, it will be time to step back.

The next round of debates, we hope, will feature a much smaller field of candidates, who will have time to offer more thoughtful, analytical answers on the issues.

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