Why Is the GOP Making a Problem for Itself with Debates?

Associated Press
Associated Press

Leave it to the Republican Party to create a problem it doesn’t need. Nothing irks the grassroots quite so much as their need to demonstrate the top-down control of the apparatus.

Politico reports, “Though the precise criteria for debate participation ultimately will be decided by the networks staging them — and party leaders continue to insist nothing has been finalized — there is behind-the-scenes agreement here at the Republican National Committee spring meeting that the first debates should be capped at 12 candidates.”

Certainly, an overly large number of candidates for the nomination, some of them implausible, at best, is a problem. But as the piece makes clear, it’s a problem for the networks.

Why even weigh in on it and set themselves up for criticism? Because it’s the GOP, and they don’t call it the stupid party for nothing:

“Our goal is to accommodate as many candidates as possible at the beginning,” said Steve Duprey, the New Hampshire committeeman who chairs the RNC’s 2016 debate committee. “I think there’s consensus to cap it between nine and 12. And we may not need more than that, depending on how the contest goes. Each of the media partners may have different criteria and they’re going to evolve.”

As is often the case, the less they talk, the better. Too bad they couldn’t find the backbone to get around to taking on ABC over George Stephanopoulos’ obvious conflicts of interest. It’s almost as if the GOP either thinks the media are going to like them one day — or they’re actually more comfortable with duplicitous Democrats like him than they are with their own base.


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