The Republican National Committee laid out guidelines earlier this year for the officially-approved schedule of nine presidential primary debates. These debates will begin later this summer.
Details were set for the first two debates this week. They will be hosted by Fox News and CNN respectively. The biggest challenge for the debates, and largely unprecedented, is the ability to reasonably fit 19 Republican White House hopefuls on one stage.
Fox News’ solution, which hosts the first debate in Cleveland, Ohio on August 6th, is the limitation of 10 candidate slots on stage. The determinant for the slots is poll ranking. Just before the debate, those with the highest scores will fill the 10 positions.
Should the polls remain in current standing Carly Fiorina, Gov. John Kasich, Gov. Bobby Jindal and Sen. Lindsey Graham would not make the cut, according to Real Clear Politics.
CNN’s program creates a two-tier system ahead of the September 16th debate to be held at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. The top ten candidates will debate as one cohort while the remaining candidates debate in a separate group.
The proviso for CNN’s system is each candidate must poll at least 1% ahead of the debate in order qualify for either of the cohorts. An added twist, potential Donald Trump may officially enter the race. Should he file, his polls could bump one or more candidates from the stage in both debates.