The Awkward Relationship Between the Democratic Party & Fox News

JAVON PRICE: Whether a Democratic presidential candidate will appear on Fox News is one of the seemingly-infinite litmus tests in their nomination process. Now based on professed Democratic Party ideology, specifically elements focused on inclusion and diversity, one would suppose that reaching out to a group of constituents that former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had deemed “deplorables” would be judicious. However, the strong rebuke of appearing on the right-leaning news channel is gaining traction within the Democratic race for the nomination.

So far, only two presidential candidates have confirmed that they will not be appearing on Fox News, which is one of the most widely watched networks in the country. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren recently called the network a “hate-for-profit racket” that “balances a mix of bigotry, racism, and outright lies.” A spokesman for California Senator Kamala Harris’s presidential campaign said “[Fox News] has reached out, but we haven’t entertained it.”

Not appearing on the network could demonstrate short-term strength, but long-term misjudgment. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg recently delivered a robust performance at a Fox News Town Hall. The in studio audience seemed unusually sympathetic to the left for a Fox News event, however Mayor Pete’s presence was not meant solely for those there physically, but also for the many that tune in every night to the conservative channel. Fox News, during primetime hours, is watched by nearly 2-3 million Americans daily. The 37 year old Democratic candidate secured the opportunity to broadcast his message to many of them.

Mayor Pete is not the only one who jumped on the chance to promote his message to a constituency much different than his own. Senators Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar have both appeared on the network and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand recently displayed a pugilistic performance on the network. These four Democratic candidates are hoping for votes in the general election from viewers of Fox News. A voter only has to look at the current president as proof that there is such a thing as an Obama-Trump Democrat. The very same could lie true for the full slate of presidential hopefuls.

Out of a field of 24 candidates, only four have decided to appear on Fox News which is about 17% of those seeking the Democratic nomination for president. If Democrats hope to win in 2020, it is not only right that they reach out to conservative voters, but necessary. In the words of Mayor Pete, “states don’t vote, people vote.” If any Democratic presidential candidate is hoping to win back any state that voted for Trump in 2016 and earn the right to be elected president of the American people, it starts with the people who call those states home.

Caroline Gardner