Wednesday, July 22, 2015

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Who Will Make It To The First GOP Presidential Debate?

As I have been saying for some weeks, there is not much real
and useful news yet about the Republican presidential
nomination contest (in spite of the media hoop-la about
Donald Trump).

But there will be some genuine news, and now exists some
genuine suspense, about which 10 (out of 16 major candidates
formally announced) contenders will qualify for the first
official (and nationally televised) debate in Cleveland, Ohio
on August 6.

The Republican National Committee (RNC) sensibly
scheduled fewer debates than occurred in the 2012 cycle, and
when so many well-known figures formally entered the race,
also sensibly limited the number of participants.

There is, of course, no purely fair way to determine who should
be in and who should be out, but the RNC chose the fairest way,
an amalgam of numerous polls taken just before the debate.

Certain candidates seem almost certain to make the cut, including
Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Ben
Carson and Donald Trump. Three more slots remain to be filled,
and they could go to Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, Carly
Fiorina, Rick Perry or just-announced John Kasich. Less likely to
make the cut are Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, Lindsay Graham,
and George Pataki. Of the maybes listed above, Chris Christie,
Carly Fiorina and John Kasich have the most at stake. They are
potentially first-tier candidates, but need the debate exposure to
become more serious candidates than they are now.

Mr. Kasich is the host governor of the debate in Ohio, and it would
be ironic if he were left out of the debate. Governor Christie, once
an early frontrunner, badly needs debate exposure to help him
recover his national standing.

There will be, earlier in the day, another debate at which the six
candidates who fail to make the cut, will be invited to appear, but
the public attention will be on the ten who make the debate in the

This debate will mark the true serious beginning of the 2016 GOP
presidential contest.

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

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