For better or worse, CNN manufactures debate excitement with 'The Draw'

On Thursday, CNN took a page from the NBA’s playbook by hosting their own version of the draft lottery with The Draw, a live one-hour special that determined the lineups for the second Democratic debate.

At the top of the show, Wolf Blitzer explained, “A lot of thought and care has gone into this process to make sure it's transparent and fair. Here's how tonight's draw will work. CNN is conducting three draws. The first draw, the second draw, and the final draw. In accordance with the rules mutually agreed upon by CNN and the Democratic National Committee, candidates will be assigned to one of these draws based on their current level of support in qualifying polls.”

The normally high-tech CNN took a more analog approach than usual with the selections. For each drawing, cards with the candidates names and the two debate nights were shuffled, placed in the respective boxes and then selected at random to determine the lineup.

The real excitement came during the final draw when it was revealed that progressive favorites Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren would be facing off on night one, and night two would feature a highly anticipated rematch between two frontrunners, Senator Kamala Harris and former Vice President Joe Biden. “Listen, this is going to be the Thrilla in Manila. Both of these candidates have a lot on the line,” added CNN commentator Van Jones.

Viewers lit up Twitter once when the Harris versus Biden debate rematch was announced.

Some of the reactions to The Draw across Twitter were less than favorable.

But, the unorthodox selection process built excitement with others.

For more details on the Democratic debates go to

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