Pundits have been quick to identify winners and losers from last night’s debate. There are, of course, many problems with such commentary. We know which teams win soccer matches because they score more goals, and we generally know which candidates win elections because they receive more votes, but we have no similar objective measure for debates.
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After the Democratic National Committee (DNC) provoked criticism by favoring Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016, you’d think it would have learned its lesson about trying to game the nominating process. Apparently not. The DNC has issued eligibility criteria for its presidential candidate debates that threaten to quickly winnow the field—nearly five months before the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary.

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