Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley say the upcoming Democratic debate schedule is "rigged" by the Democratic Party leadership to impede challengers to Hillary Clinton, the Washington Post reports. "This sort of rigged process has never been attempted before," O'Malley said in a speech to the Democratic National Committee yesterday. "We are the Democratic Party, not the undemocratic party." The Hill reports Sanders later agreed with O'Malley's statement and notes that he has previously expressed similar concern: "At a time when many Americans are demoralized about politics and have given up on the political process, I think it's imperative that we have as many debates as possible."
Only four Democratic debates are scheduled before the first states vote and only six debates are scheduled in total. A DNC spokesperson says the party believes all candidates will have plenty of opportunities to reach voters both in the scheduled debates and outside of them. By accusing the party of limiting and delaying debates, the Post reports that O'Malley "effectively declared war on the Democratic Party leadership." He made the case that Democrats need debates now to counter the headlines being made by Donald Trump and the other Republican candidates. "Will we let the circus run unchallenged on every channel while we cower in shadows under a decree of silence?" he asked. The first Democratic primary debate is Oct. 13. (Read more Bernie Sanders stories.)