If you follow this space you know that I have a real problem with the way the RNC has decided who will be allowed to run for its nomination for president. My angst revved up a notch when I learned that the RNC and its communication arm, FOX NEWS, arbitrarily changed the rules for admission at the eleventh hour.
Perhaps a little background is in order.
In 2012 the RNC staged 20 some debates which included enough presidential aspirants to field a softball team. The debates went on for months with the single common thread of everyone on stage beating up on the prohibitive front runner and eventual nominee; Mitt Romney.
The RNC concluded that the lengthy and often times heated process weakened Romney in the eyes the voters. Eventually the RNC decided that there were A.) far too many debates and B.) way too many potential nominees on stage.
In order to prevent a reoccurrence of that debacle for the 2016 election, the RNC decided they needed to cut the number of debates and winnow down the field as quickly as possible. What the RNC did not want was to assume the responsibility (RE: take the heat) for who was in the mix and who was out. So the RNC ceded the entire mess over to FOX NEWS.
FOX NEWS decided that there would be 6 debates (good) and that the participants would be decided by inviting the top 10 ranked candidates in the “five most recent national polls” to appear on the prime time stage (bad).
Last night FOX NEWS announced the top ten winners with Ohio Governor John Kasich narrowly bumping former Texas Governor Rick Perry off the stage. They also announced the 5 polls used to select the winners.
Here’s the thing.
Instead of using the "5 most recent national polls" as they indicated they would…they inexplicably skipped the 5th most recent poll…the NBC NEWS/WALL STREET JOURNAL poll…and chose to use poll #6…the Quinnipiac poll.
The NBC NEWS/WSJ poll had Kasich and Perry tied at 3 points each. The Quinnipiac poll had Kasich leading Perry by just over a point. In the final analysis factoring in either poll puts Kasich in over Perry. The NBC poll puts Kasich in by .8% over Perry while the Quinnipiac poll puts Kasich in by over a point.
So why the switch?
FOX NEWS says it skipped the NBC poll because: “The NBC/WSJ poll did not list the names of all the candidates when asking voters who they would pick for the GOP nominee.” Translation…”the Quinnipiac poll showed Kasich as the clear #10 while the NBC poll had Kasich and Perry tied. The Quinnipiac gives our process a greater sense of legitimacy in picking the top ten candidates. Please ignore any reference to the margin of error cited in each of the polls.”
Let me get this straight. The RNC decides to hand control of its presidential nomination process over to a cable news network. The cable news network sets a list of arbitrary criteria that includes polling which places half the field within the margin of error. Then the cable news network decides at the eleventh hour to change the criteria because one poll failed to follow a never before announced set of polling rules.
The result is that the governor of Ohio, and former FOX NEWS employee gets to appear on stage in his home state while the former four term governor of the second largest state in the union watches as his campaign arbitrarily ends.
As I watched FOX NEW announce its top 10 list I couldn’t help but remember what John Kasich said when he announced his candidacy. A reporter asked Kasich if his late announcement would hurt him in garnering enough support to be included in the important first debate. Kasich replied: “I’ll be in that debate whether or not I’m in the top 10.”
Apparently the former FOX NEWs host knew something we didn’t.
FOX NEWS arbitrarily decided to change its arbitrary rules.