Republican presidential campaigns are planning to gather in Washington, D.C., on Sunday evening to plot how to alter their party’s messy debate process — and how to remove power from the hands of the Republican National Committee.
Not invited to the meeting: Anyone from the RNC, which many candidates have openly criticized in the hours since Wednesday’s CNBC debate in Boulder, Colorado — a chaotic, disorganized affair that was widely panned by political observers.
On Thursday, many of the campaigns told POLITICO that the RNC, which has taken a greater role in the 2016 debate process than in previous election cycles, had failed to take their concerns into account. It was time, top aides to at least half a dozen of the candidates agreed, to begin discussing among themselves how the next debates should be structured and not leave it up to the RNC and television networks.
The gathering is being organized by advisers to the campaigns of Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Bobby Jindal and Lindsey Graham, according to multiple sources involved in the planning. Others who are expected to attend, organizers say, are representatives for Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Rick Santorum. The planners are also reaching out to other Republican candidates.
Spokespersons for the RNC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The POLITICO article explains how each candidate has different concerns about the upcoming debates.
In Rush Limbaugh’s opening remarks on his syndicated radio show the day after the debate, he said
The display that we got last night was a culmination of everything that many of us have been trying to tell the American people the Drive-By Media is: Arrogant, smug. I mean, it goes so far beyond bias. Bias doesn’t even cover what happened last night. That was a kill show last night. That show was designed to kill every one of those candidates. That debate last night was designed to take them all out. That debate last night was to grease the skids for Hillary Clinton. That was the sole purpose of that debate last night.
Rush Limbaugh accused the CNBC “moderators” as designing each question as a bullet aimed at each candidate. He was correct. Many of the candidates were gutsy enough to call out their inquisitors on the expressly-shown bias. The crowd also roared their disapproval several times at inappropriately-worded questions from the panel.
So it is to be expected that finally the Republican candidates are taking their fates into their own hands. There are many conflicting needs that have to be balanced. I suspect an experienced negotiator like Donald Trump will guide the group to an acceptable solution for all that removes their unnecessary vulnerability to a hostile media.
I have suggested that the RNC (or now perhaps the candidate coalition) should simply buy the two hours of cable time like any corporation, and sell its own commercials to recoup some or all of the cost. Then the Republicans can control the format of the debate, ensuring equal time for candidates and sufficient opportunity to explain their positions.
Another possibility is to broadcast it on the Internet, making it freely available. Considering the limited access to some of the cable stations, this may well expose the debate to a larger audience.
The Republican candidate are showing wisdom, courage, and maturity in collaborating on a solution for the ridiculous plight in which they were placed by the feckless RNC.
Kudos to the Republican candidates!