Fusion, a soon-to-be wholly owned subsidiary of Univision, is hosting the 2016 Iowa Brown & Black Forum in Des Moines. What kind of coverage can its dozens of viewers expect tonight? Here's a quick look.
The candidates will be interviewed separately. Due to DNC debate rules, the candidates will not appear together on stage during the forum. This has already caused some grumbling among activists who are accustomed to more of a debate style, and will further fuel the narrative that the debate schedule is rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton.
The questions (and questioners) will be predictable. Per The Des Moines Register, "moderators will focus on economic development, immigration, education, bias in the justice system, and health care issues."
In plain English, this means that each candidate will be given opportunities to bash law enforcement, curse conservatives, and extol the virtues of unfettered access to taxpayer-paid abortion. Furthermore, the candidates will be given an opportunity to outbid each other on immigration, tuition, and minimum wage proposals. It will be interesting to see whether Hillary Clinton (at Jorge Ramos' likely prompting) merely distances herself from the Obama administration on the DHS raids, or joins the other candidates in an outright denunciation. Not mentioned in the DMR article is gun control, but I fully expect the question to emerge tonight. Don't be surprised if Ramos gets in a question on Second Amendment repeal- or curtailing via executive order.
The non-questions will be just as predictable. In a sane world, a leading presidential candidate under federal investigation would have to face questions about said investigation, particularly when: (A) the investigation expands into potential public corruption, and (B) one of the moderators prides himself on being tough on "corruption" and "public lies". However this cycle is anything but sane, and I would be surprised to see any deviation from the standard media talking points. Other expected non-questions include: ISIS, national-security immigration concerns, scandal coverage of Bill Cosby vis-á-vis Bill Clinton, and whether or not the candidates agree with Jorge Ramos' recent racially-charged tirade.
Sadly, I think this will be a missed opportunity. I fully expect that Fusion will moderate this candidate forum in a manner consistent with its founder and CEO Isaac Lee- the man who compared his networks' ideological opponents to the Nazis. In so doing, an opportunity for thoughtful discussion will ultimately yield to ugly partisan identity politics, thus rendering an incredible disservice to the "Brown and Black" communities this forum purports to serve.