Author Kenton Long
On January 19th, 2015, the Republican National Committee (RNC) announced they would allow only 9 primary debates for candidates running for Republican presidential nominee in 2016, with a possible 3 debates to be added. Half the number of debates compared to 2012. RNC chairman Reince Priebus explained, “…it will allow candidates to bring their ideas and vision to Americans in a timely and efficient way.” In addition, the debate and caucus election calendar, as well as the Republican Convention have been shortened up, beginning and ending earlier than in recent elections.
Conventional thinking is, the RNC has “improved” the primary process in order to avoid mistakes of the 2012 election. Some feel that Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee winner, suffered too many criticisms from his Republican challengers throughout the many debates and long caucus schedule. Consequently, the RNC believes, Romney emerged a bruised and battered candidate—not a better one—for the general election.
Republicans are saying, “Fewer debates is better. We have a lot of candidates. It would be too unwieldy, overwhelming, and ridiculous to have 30 Republican candidates standing on stage to debate. We have good candidates. Fewer is better.”
This is nonsense. We do NOT have good candidates. And fewer is not better.
Yes, it would be ridiculous to squeeze 30 candidates onto a debate stage. Can you imagine? That would be insane. Actually, 12 candidates is equally insane. Six, maybe, is appropriate.
So, what are you saying, Prodigal Son? Fewer is not better? Yet you suggest only 6 candidates on stage for the debates?
More debates, fewer candidates per debate. They don’t all have to be on the same stage at the same time at the same debate. Have smaller debates. Let’s see a couple “establishment” candidates debate a couple “Tea Party” candidates. Let’s see a couple “well known” candidates hash it out with a couple “unknown” candidates. Let’s see a couple “governor” candidates duke it out with a couple “congressmen” candidates. Let’s see some one-on-one debates. Let’s see candidates debate as teams, so we can see if candidates can play as team players. Let’s have formal debates, town hall debates, radio debates, and online debates.
I say, Yes, to more candidates in the overall field because most of the well-known ones today stink of Leftist progressivism, Washington corruption, backroom deal-making, and self-centered ambition. Furthermore, they lack the most basic understanding of our founding principles, or if they do understand, they haven’t the courage to say so. I’m looking for character, integrity, humility, and faith.
I think the real reason the RNC has reduced the debates and shortened the primary schedule is to shut out the constitutional conservative candidates. The RNC wants to squeeze out the Tea Party from the nomination process. The Tea Party is more than a nuisance to the RNC, it’s a danger. A shorter primary schedule and fewer debates only hurts lesser known candidates, like Tea Party types.
The RNC is comfortable with all the big well-known candidates; most of these candidates are “establishment” Republicans. The RNC smells victory in 2016—“it’s our election to lose”—and they want to play it safe. The RNC is as “progressive” and cowardly as the “establishment” candidates they protected in the 2014 mid-term.
Unless the RNC losses control of the nomination process to a charismatic constitutional conservative, Republican voters will end up with the status quo on Election Day.