Friday, June 12, 2015

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Who Should Debate?

A dilemma facing the Republican National Committee (RNC)
as it plans and organizes for the presidential nominating
contest in 2016 is that there are at least 16 “serious” candidates
now or imminently in the field.

As I have written earlier, this in itself is mostly a positive
circumstance, reflecting as it does the good prospects as of now
for the election of a Republican president next year.

But one apparent drawback is trying to present a TV debate
with the very large number of well-known contenders with
serious credentials. The solution by the leadership of the RNC
is to limit the first debate to the top 10 candidates as shown by
aggregating a number of polls.

Objections have arisen, as might be expected, by those who have
something to lose by not being included in the all-important

The solution of the RNC, while not perfect, is the only reasonable
one under the circumstances. Even 10 candidates on the stage are
too many perhaps, but the number is reasonable for the first debate.
The RNC, in order to placate the objections, has scheduled a second
debate the same day which will include those who don’t make the
top 10 list.

Presumably if a candidate improves in the polls after the August 20
first debate in Cleveland, Ohio, they could be included in a
subsequent debate, replacing a candidate with lower poll numbers.

It might be uncomfortable for the RNC if Governor John Kasich of
Ohio, a serious candidate by most standards, doesn’t qualify for the
first debate (which will be held in Ohio); as it might also be
embarrassing if Donald Trump, a perennial attention-seeking
candidate is included at the expense of others, but, as I suggest,
there is no “perfect” solution.

It is, after all, up to the candidates and the campaigns to earn
name recognition and raise funds by their own efforts. The burden
is on them, not on the RNC. Nor are the debates the only venue
for a presidential campaign. Some candidates begin the contest
with lots of name recognition or, as in the case of Mr. Trump, with
enough of their own money to bypass fundraising. Politics, like
everything else, is not ideally fair.

The next president will need to demonstrate to the nation his or
her ability to overcome obstacles, and to create wide support.

Let the debates begin.

Copyright (c) 2015 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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