Sometime after 5PM today the Republican Party's communication department, FOX NEWS, will announce the names of the 10 Republican candidates that will be invited to participate in Thursday’s prime time debate. The seven losers will be relegated to the 5PM undercard.
If you are a Republican hopeful and you are not on that prime time debate stage there is a very real possibility that your campaign is over. For that you can thank the RNC and FOX NEWS.
The Republican National Committee in its infinite wisdom has relegated control of its nominating process to FOX NEWS. FOX NEWS has decided that the top ten candidates in five national polls will be invited to the prime time party. FOX NEWS refuses to name the 5 polls on which they will base their decision. They also refuse to divulge how they will determining the winner in the event of any ties. Are they rounding up to the nearest hundredth…nearest tenth? Are they rounding down? We don’t know.
Why do the calculations matter? Here’s why.
According to the average of five likely national polls Donald Trump is doubling the field. The first five or six winners are pretty clear. But candidates 7-15 are within mere percentage points of each other and all of them fall within the polls’ 2.5%-3.5% margin of error. It looks like Christie and Kasich are in and Perry is out. But who is to say? All three fall within the margin of error. Fiorina and Jindal, the only female and Indian candidates in the field, are out. But they fall within the margin of error as well. Ultimately FOX NEWS decides who gets featured on prime time television and who does not.
Pollsters are pissed. Monmouth has issued a strong statement objecting to the use of their polling data in determining the Republican field. They reason that their data is intended to track history not determine it. Marist announced that they will no longer poll voters regarding the ultimate nominee for the same reasons.
FOX NEWS could fix this. They could stage two consecutive 90 minute prime time sessions with candidates randomly chosen for each session. People would tune in.
Is this how we want our democracy to work? Do we really want billionaires setting the field and news outlets determining who gets national exposure?