Politics of Debate Selection Draws Criticism

Politics of Debate Selection Draws Criticism

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, Pool)

With under three weeks until the first Republican primary debate, criticism of the means of selection for the limited 10 slots on the stage is intensifying.

According to the RNC’s rules that govern the officially sanctioned nine debates, sponsoring news networks are allowed to determine their own criteria for invitations.

But the criteria announced by Fox News for the August 6 debate has been a vague reference to candidates’ standing in national polls.

The problem, as was recently argued by Sen. Ted Cruz, is that as much as a third of the 17 official GOP candidates are within the margin of error from each other, which would render the final debate roster arbitrary.

Seasoned political expert Larry Sabato has lobbied most recently for a substantive change in the selection process that allows for a two-tier system for the first few debates in which all candidates who poll at least 1% get a spot on the stage to prove themselves and avoid being forced out of the election due to ambiguous polling routines.



  1. big mistake to have a full stage of 9 or 10 Reps dragging each other down. have 4 debates of about 4 candidates each . Another rule – Reagan’s 11th commandment – “don’t critisize other Reps. There are plenty of mistakes that Hillary has made – attack her.

    • The Donald’s attack on POWs seemed to go well with the base. Maybe Reagan was wrong and the way to go is for candidates to go after each other after any slight real or imagined.

      • Reagan was not wrong. All good organizations strive for teamwork and civil harmony even when disagreements occur. How about a few football team members spouting like Trump … don’t think they’d last long. Too much “bomb throwing” usually ends in silly, unimportant, off-topic, accusations and detract from constructive debate. Right now, GOP candidates are discussing Trump and his remarks. And while the remarks sometime display a refreshing arrogance, they tell us nothing about Trump’s stand on important presidential issues (John McCain is not relevant in this campaign). Very few voters know where GOP candidates stand on domestic and foreign policy issues. The media is too busy pumping Trump’s entertaining rhetoric … like sharks feeding in bloody water.

        • Trump at least has the “nads” to say what he believes. and what he feels the public wants. His own man and not just another politician.

        • When the “Team” is way off base with no common sense or understanding what the regular American people want, it is then that we need theTrumpts to make waves and show how far off the Party has gotten.I love the sharks stirring the waters. Maybe, just maybe someone will listen.

    • I like the idea of smaller debates so we can hear each of them talk. Reagan’s 11th Commandment is good. I don’t think any time should be spent attacking Hillary, Obama, Bernie, Lizzie, Biden etc. They will all agree on that. I want to hear their proposals for addressing the important issues of the day, but as we learned from Boehner and McConnell, talk is cheap, so we need to know their track record for actually doing what they say.

  2. Really don’t like the fact that Fox gets to choose winners and losers. The media’s news coverage of the campaign is already “sensationalized”, giving most ink to candidates that make the most noise and create controversy. It’s absolutely WRONG for a news organization to make THE decision as to which candidates will be heard by the voters. There is a better way … e.g., Two debates, on consecutive days, with participants chosen randomly, no poll standing considered, no 1st or 2nd tier label. All candidates would get their say fairly and equally.

    • EVERY sponsoring “news” organization gets to set their own standard. As far as I know Fox is the only one to reveal theirs.
      Personally, I would NOT let ANY MSM so called “journalist” be involved in any way. OK, maybe they can submit potential questions to the moderator who may or may NOT accept them.
      I’m sick and tired of the MSM choosing OUR candidate by means of their ultra biased “reporting.”

  3. How is this for a quote, “The duty of the Commission on Presidential Debates is not to keep the debates fair. It’s to keep establishment candidates in office.”

    Vote conservative. vote for one who will follow the Constitution.

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