THE BLOG
09/24/2015 04:38 pm ET Updated Sep 23, 2016

Democrats Turning Their Back on Latinos With Limited Debate Schedule

Debates go back to the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858, when Abraham Lincoln challenged Sen. Stephen Douglas to go on tour discussing their differing views on slavery.

With the 2016 presidential election around the corner, the American people, specially Latinos, expect to hear the candidates' plans to solve the country's most pressing problems. And with 48 million Latino television viewers, debates can provide Latino voters an opportunity to get to know the candidates on a personal level from the comfort of their homes.

Unfortunately, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is straying away from this tradition announcing a limited debate schedule allowing only six televised debates and banning candidates from participating in outside debates.

By turning off the television, leaders in the Democratic Party are disregarding Latinos and undermining a competition that consequently unfairly benefits the Clinton campaign.

Latinos want to hear from all candidates including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), former-Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, Lincoln Chafee, Lawrence Lessig and Jim Webb.

This is a sharp departure from the 2008 cycle when then-Sen. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton debated each other 27 times, including outside debates. Even the GOP is currently providing the country with more than twice the number of debates.

Further, the DNC has constantly met with senior aides to Hillary Clinton to discuss messaging and strategy; this opportunity has not been provided to other campaigns in the Democratic primary, and clearly displays the privilege that Americans are uncomfortable with.

The meetings come as the Clinton campaign has been plagued with questions about her honesty, as Sanders surges in the polls, and as Vice President Joe Biden hints he may enter the race.

With a record number of Latinos -- around 13.1 million -- going to the voting booths, Democrats should create a genuine contest as opposed to rigging the game for a coronation.

Democrat unwillingness to speak directly with constituents extends beyond just the debates as Republicans had a three-to-one advantage in engaging with their constituents in town halls this summer: Republicans in both chambers have collectively hosted 572 events since the start of recess, whereas the Democrats have hosted 142.

Democrats' poor effort to talk to Latinos, much like Fox News' control of who is taken seriously in the debates, can only be summed up in the following: we will choose your candidate for you.

Latinos, however, will not be fooled by the DNC's smokescreen. Latinos watch 62 percent more digital video than non-Latinos, and social media has provided a viable platform for other candidates to reach a broader audience.

There are many questions still to be answered by all candidates, especially on immigration, private prisons, the economy, Iraq and the Keystone XL pipeline.

While majority of Latinos disagree with Republicans on various issues, at least the GOP is making every effort to discuss the issues and speak to Latinos on television and beyond.

Democrats, meanwhile, simply appear not to care as much.