With the 2020 presidential elections getting into high gear, many of the presidential hopefuls are tapping into the efficacy of town hall meetings. Many media outfits are also hosting town hall meetings for presidential candidates, and these include Fox News Channel and CNN.
Senator Amy Klobuchar (Democratic, Minnesota) agreed to become the second Democratic presidential hopeful to hold a town hall meeting to be broadcasted live on Fox News Channel. Others will soon follow, said sources from the medial outfit.
The Klobuchar event will be held on May 8, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and it will last for an hour. It will follow the format set during Senator Bernie Sanders’ session, too. It will start at 6:30 P.M., Eastern Time and Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum will be the anchors.
The town hall meeting is expected to be a success considering the high ratings of Senator Sanders’ own event last Monday. According to Fox News Channel, it reached 2.55 million viewers including President Donald Trump, and it was the largest audience since the start of the 2020 campaign cycle. This despite its non-primetime showing.
President Trump is known for being a loyal viewer of Fox News Channel. Such a fan, indeed, that there have been allegations made by media personalities that the Fox News Channel may be closer to a state television in the United States. He also live tweets Fox News shows, in contrast with his predecessors.
But even President Trump wasn’t too happy about seeing Senator Sanders (Democratic, Vermont) on Fox. He tweeted, “So weird to watch Crazy Bernie on Fox News” on Tuesday. The junior U.S. senator didn’t hold back from his criticism of the President either – he called the latter a “pathological liar”, among others.
Other 2020 presidential candidates have also expressed their intent to appear on Fox News Channel’s town hall meetings. Pete Buttigieg’s campaign team has confirmed that they are in talks with Fox, while Julian Castro’s aide, Jenn Fiore, has said that his team is scheduling it.
Senator Cory Booker is reportedly considering appearing in one, too. Beto O’Rourke may disagree with Fox News’ practices but he has said that will attend its town hall meeting or in some other program.
The Democratic Party have a tough balancing act to make. While it wants to reach a larger audience, it cannot anger its liberal base that holds the Fox News Channel in contempt. Such view isn’t helped by the unprecedented relationship between the channel and the President. The latter rarely criticizes the former and there are few people on the channel that he disagrees with.
But Fox News Channel may well watch the Democratic nomination process sans a ringside seat despite its favoured status. The Democratic National Committee has announced that it will not conduct any of its upcoming debates week on the controversial channel.
CNN has also announced that it will be hosting five Democratic presidential candidates in back-to-back town hall meetings later in April 2019. The five Democrats are Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Bernie Sanders, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
The town hall meetings will be broadcasted live on April 22, 2019 from New Hampshire. These are co-hosted by the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School and the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College.
The audience will consist of young New Hampshire Democrats and students will be provided with ample opportunities to ask questions of the presidential candidates. The students come from two schools in New Hampshire.
Chris Cuomo will be the moderator during Senator Klobuchar’s meeting at 7 P.M. Eastern Time (ET) as well as that of Senator Sanders at 9 P.M. (ET). Anderson Cooper will be the moderator for Senator Warren’s meeting (8 P.M. ET) and Buttigieg’s meeting (11 P.M. ET). Don Lemon will be the moderator for Senator Harris’ meeting (10 P.M. ET).
All these town hall meetings will be at the Saint Anselm College campus. These were also planned to coincide with the release of the new national poll of young voters conducted by the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School.
Town hall meetings have a relatively long history in the U.S. presidential elections. The earliest recorded one was conducted in Dorchester, Massachusetts on October 8, 1633.
These are widely considered as effective venues for local and national politicians to get to the pulse of their constituents. These are typically designed to provide an interactive forum between politicians and candidates in discussing relevant issues of the day, topics of interest, and/or upcoming legislation.
Despite the name, these meetings aren’t necessarily held in town halls. Instead, these can be held in schools, churches, and municipal buildings, even in libraries.
In the digital age, town hall meetings are also broadcasted over live television and radio, as well as on the internet (i.e., live streaming).