The first Republican presidential nomination debate will air on Fox News on 6 August 2015. That’s just two and a half months away. I have very found memories of live-blogging some of the 2012 presidential debates with all the guys over at The Reaction. But that put a lot of pressure on Michael to take email that the rest of us were sending and then post it. Plus, users then had to manually update their pages. That is the problem with using Blogger for your hosting. It was also the problem here when Frankly Curious was using the Nucleus CMS. But now that I’m using WordPress, I can get actual live-blogging software, so I’m thinking of doing that here. Given that I can usually only stand to watch these things while I drink, it could be interesting.
Earlier this year, the RNC had announced that they were going to take control of the nomination process. But apparently not. Jonathan Bernstein summarized the situation well, Fox to Candidates: Go Nuts. On Camera. Please. One would think that the party would want to tightly control those who are in the debates, you know, so that the party doesn’t look totally crazy. But that apparently would have ruffled feathers with the crazy base of the party. So the RNC has abdicated the responsibility and just thrown it on the cable news networks.
Obviously, the networks have a different incentive than the Republican Party does. It strikes me as indicative of the fact that even the “adults” in the party are incompetent. For the first debate, Fox News is going to allow the top ten candidates as indicated by the last five polls before the even. That might include ties, so there could be more than ten. But isn’t ten about three times as many as the Republican Party needs to deeply embarrass itself? The situation is even worse for the second debate at CNN. For that, the network is going to have two debates: one for the top ten and a second one for those not in the top ten but who receive at least 1% in “public polling” — whatever that might be.
Jonathan Bernstein noted that even more than the bad incentives it provides the networks, are the incentives it provides the candidates, “We’re going to see gimmicks, stunts and every attention-grabbing device the campaigns can think of, all timed to maximize poll standings near the end of July.” He added that the huge amount of money available to some candidates will allow them to buy ads on Fox News to make it into the top ten. A win-win for Fox News!
At the moment, the Real Clear Politics average of polls provides the following winners in the top ten: Jeb Bush (15.4%), Scott Walker (13.2%), Marco Rubio (13.2%), Rand Paul (9.2%), Mike Huckabee (8.6%), Ted Cruz (8.6%), Ben Carson (7.8%), Chris Christie (5.4%), Rick Perry (2.4%), and Rick Santorum (2.3%). That’s like 2012, but worse. The field rounds out with John Kasich (2.0%), Carly Fiorina (1.3%), Bobby Jindal (1.3), and Lindsey Graham (1.3%). It’s quite a collection.
At the very least, the first couple of debates will be events to behold. So I think I’m going to press forward with the live blogging. If you see some weird stuff going on here over the weekend, it probably means that I’m testing some new software. Otherwise, I’m sure I will announce any live-blogging I intend to do. It would be nice if at least a couple of people watched. Like I said: it could be interesting. Especially if you’re drunk!