Prior to the most recent GOP debate, several Republican candidates voiced their displeasure with CNBC’s rules, which included no opening or closing statements, and was supposed run as long as it ran. After both Donald Trump and Ben Carson threw temper tantrums and threatened to boycott, CNBC changed its rules. However, the candidates are not happy with debates in general, and are meeting in Washington, D.C. on Sunday to revolt against none other than the Republican National Committee itself.
Speaking exclusively to Politico, the campaigns said that the RNC isn’t listening to their concerns regarding the debates. They’ve also played a larger role in this election cycle than in previous election cycles. That could be because what the RNC seems to want differs from what many of the candidates are putting forth, and they could be worried that Republicans are going to lose yet another presidential election if the candidates do their own thing.
Advisers to Donald Trump, Lindsey Graham, Ben Carson, and Bobby Jindal are already involved, and advisers to Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum are expected to join. However, the candidates have a number of different complaints, ranging from unequal speaking time (Jeb Bush and Rand Paul), to using the polls to determine who qualifies for the prime-time debates (Bobby Jindal).
Some of them are upset that the moderators seem to be egging on growing rivalries instead of asking questions requiring answers with substance. Politico reports that Marco Rubio said everyone gets onstage prepared for a substantive debate, and then the questions seem to just play the candidates off of each other.
These widely varying complaints could make this meeting very contentious, depending on what their goals are. We’ve already seen how poorly these candidates get along, so there’s slim hope that they’ll actually be able to agree on demands for future debates.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus wasn’t happy with the debate, either, and said that CNBC “should be ashamed of how this debate was handled,” according to The Huffington Post. He believes they did a disservice to the candidates, to voters, and to their own network in letting the moderators behave the way they did. However, Priebus isn’t invited to this meeting, and neither is anybody else from the RNC.
CNBC is standing by their moderators and the debate, saying that people who want to be the president ought to be able to answer the tough questions. This does make us wonder just what the candidates consider “tough questions” versus what the networks do.
Nobody knows yet exactly what the candidates’ campaigns will discuss on Sunday, and exactly how they plan to wrest some power from the RNC. Politico is reporting that Fox News, who’s hosting the next debate on November 10, hasn’t heard from any of the candidates about their format, but they aren’t worried about anything.