Don’t let the GOP get away with fanning presidential debates

Of all political ceremonies, there is little weariness and tedium like debate over debates.

By election time, a candidate and those close to them would go round after round with the opposition, bickering, joking, and confusing how and whether political opponents would share stage or not and answer questions that peer at the contestants from their familiar speaking points of view.

It can last for months, in a really bad form of Kabuki theater.

Thankfully, over the past few decades, the country hasn’t allowed pointless puffing of the chest in the White House races. Since 1987, the Committee on Presidential Debates, co-founded by leaders of the two major parties, has deftly overseen the process, presenting candidates as essentially a invitation to appear in front of the biggest TV station. the audience of the campaign – the number of viewers reaches tens of millions.

Now, former President Trump and his databases at the Republican National Committee are trying to blow things up, because clearly subverting the foundation of the country’s free and fair elections. water has not completely damaged our shaky political system.

Oh, and because the committee muted the candidates’ microphones during parts of the second 2020 debate after Trump flouted the rules about speaking in front of Joe Biden and acting like a 12-year-old. age of speed.

In a letter to the committee last week, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said the committee was preparing to change its rules to require candidates seeking the GOP presidential nomination to pledge not to participate. into any committee-sponsored debate, starting in 2024.

“Our sincere hope is [commission’s] Repeated mistakes and partisan actions by board members make it clear that the organization no longer provides the fair and objective forum for presidential debates required by law. and the American people deserve it,” McDaniel wrote, demonstrating Trump’s radical ability to sound authoritative but impractical and utter vague statements out of thin air.

Over time, there have been modifications to the argument form. The committee experimented with the number of moderators and journalists who asked questions. The town hall session was introduced. Entire segments have been dedicated to a particular topic, to attract a deeper discussion.

Frank Fahrenkopf, co-chair of the committee and former leader of the Republican National Committee, said the commissioners remained open to further changes.

Fahrenkopf mocked claims the committee was biased against the GOP. “I am an ardent Republican, noting that his long history helped lead the party in Nevada before President Reagan selected him to head the RNC for four years in mid-January,” he said. the 1980s.

That said, Fahrenkopf continued, the commissioners tried to put their partisan views and political beliefs aside and, as clichéd as possible, do what’s best for the country.

Proof that it worked.

Democrats claim moderator Jim Lehrer allowed 2012 Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, to run bitterly against President Obama. Trump complained about moderators in 2016 and again in 2020, and skipped the 2020 debate after contracting COVID-19 and refusing to participate in a teleconference.

Romney happens to be McDaniel’s uncle.

Romney said it would be “bad” if Republicans removed their candidates from the fall rollout.

“The American people want to see presidential candidates debate issues that have consequences for them, and it provides a service to the country and its people,” the senator told Insider. to hear the potential candidates of the two major dukedom parties. it’s out. ”

This is an example I know best. McDaniel and others begged Trump to take notice.

Mark Z. Barabak is a journalist for the Los Angeles Times. © 2022 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency. Don’t let the GOP get away with fanning presidential debates

Huynh Nguyen

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