Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Sweet Sixteen? First Republican Debate Must Exclude Candidates

As of today there are 16 candidates for the Republican presidential nomination.

For the first televised debate scheduled for August 6 on Fox News, the RNC will allow only ten of the candidates to participate based on their standing in an average of five national polls.

Excluding any candidate, at this early stage of the campaign, seems patently unfair, especially given that poll numbers change so drastically as the primary election process progresses.

Those candidates who do not make the cut will participate in a candidate forum on the same day at 1:00 pm ET.

In 2012 the field was almost as crowded, topping out at ten candidates. The largest amount on stage at any one debate was nine, but still, it was hard for them to get a word in edgewise. Even limiting this field to ten, there is not enough time to give each candidate a fair hearing.

Why not have each candidate go into a studio alone, ask him or her a series of questions, and put the resulting interview on YouTube? That format would provide a level playing field because every candidate would answer the same set of questions, every candidate would get the same amount of time, and it would allow voters to compare apples to apples by viewing all of the candidates on the internet. 

There is no simple solution, but the current plan will exclude some excellent candidates, such as Carly Fiorina, and voters deserve to hear each and every candidate.

Here is a list of the scheduled debates:

August 6, 2015 - 9pm ET
Fox News Republican Debate
Aired On: Fox News Channel
Location: Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, OH
Sponsors: Fox News, Facebook
Moderators: Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace
Rules: Top 10 candidates in an average of 5 national polls
Candidates: To be determined
Notes: Fox News has added a candidate forum at 1pm ET the same day for candidates who don't make the debate cut

September 16, 2015
CNN/Salem Republican Debate
Aired On: CNN and Salem Radio (Press Release)
Location: Reagan Library in Simi Valley, CA
Sponsors: Reagan Library Foundation, CNN, Salem Media Group
Moderators: Jake Tapper, Hugh Hewitt,
Rules: Split field into Segment B (top 10 candidates) and Segment A (remaining candidates getting at least 1% in polls) (Details)
Candidates: To be determined

October 28, 2015
CNBC Republican Debate
Aired On: CNBC
Location: University of Colorado in Boulder (Press Release)
Sponsors: CNBC (Press Release)
Candidates: To be determined
November, 2015*
Fox Business/WSJ Republican Debate
Aired On: Fox Business Network
Location: Wisconsin
Sponsors: Fox Business Network, Wall Street Journal
Candidates: To be determined

December 15, 2015
CNN/Salem Republican Debate
Aired On: CNN
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Sponsors: CNN, Salem Media Group
Candidates: To be determined
2016

January, 2016*
Fox News Republican Debate
Aired On: Fox News Channel
Location: Iowa
Sponsors: Fox News
Candidates: To be determined

February 6, 2016
ABC/IJReview Republican Debate
Aired On: ABC
Location: St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire
Sponsors: ABC News, IJReview.com (Press Release)
Candidates: To be determined

February 13, 2016
CBS News Republican Debate
Aired On: CBS
Location: South Carolina
Sponsors: CBS News
Candidates: To be determined

February 26, 2016
NBC/Telemundo Republican Debate
Aired On: NBC and Telemundo
Location: Texas
Sponsors: NBC/Telemundo, National Review
Candidates: To be determined
March, 2016*
Fox News Republican Debate
Aired On: Fox News Channel
Location: TBD
Sponsors: Fox News
Candidates: To be determined

March 10, 2016
CNN/Salem Republican Debate
Aired On: CNN
Location: Florida
Sponsors: CNN, Salem Media Group
Candidates: To be determined
*Debate sponsor has not yet named specific date


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