So if you’re the Republican Party and you have anywhere from 15-20 people running for president, what to you do when it comes to your format for debates? Well, there’s been a lot of proposals, and a lot of controversy when it comes to those proposals. Some talk about having the top polling candidates qualify for the debates…which could be a really bad thing if one of the low-polling candidates has some really great ideas that could make him/her a fantastic president. You’ve got the prospect raised of splitting the field in two…which may leave fields from anywhere from eight to ten candidates at a time, which will leave not enough time for many questions nor adequate comments from the candidates involved. So what does the GOP do?
Well, above, you see my first idea: “The Republican Squares”…as the announcer proclaims, “And, now, here is the master of the Republican Squares, Candy Crowley!” No, wait. “And, now, here is the master of the Republican Squares, Bob Schieffer!” Here’s how the game works: You have two random voters selected from the studio audience select a candidate. From there, Bob Schieffer asks the candidate a question. The candidate answers the question, and the contestant chooses to agree or disagree with the candidate’s answer. From there, that’s where I get stuck, because finding an arbitrator to decide on the answer’s validity or soundness is something I’m uncertain of. But I’d just like to have a game of “The Republican Squares” to hear a contestant say “I’ll take Chris Christie to block”…which may be more appropriate for the game of football than this game. In addition to the arbiter problem, we can only play the game with nine candidates at a time…much like the splitting-the-field debate idea. Then again, if there were 18 candidates, we could play two rounds with different candidates in the squares. In fact, we could play with 17 candidates, and let Mitt Romney play, too. Though he announced his candidacy, then realized that it may not be that great of an idea for him after all, it’ll give ol’ Mitt that thrill of being a play-along part of the 2016 campaign.
Then followed my second idea, which kind of follows the concept of one of President Obama’s most favorite things: the NCAA basketball tournament. At this writing, there are 14 announced Republican candidates for the 2016 presidential election, with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker expected to announce on Monday 7/13, and Ohio Governor John Kasich expected to announce about a week later. That brings the field to 16 Republican candidates. Yes, the Sweet Sixteen, if you so desire. From here, you break the candidates down to brackets in particular categories:
Bracket 1: SENATORS–Ted Cruz, Lindsay Graham, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio
Bracket 2: GOVERNORS AND FORMER GOVERNORS I–Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee and·Bobby Jindal
Bracket 3: GOVERNORS AND FORMER GOVERNORS II–John Kasich, George Pataki, Rick Perry and Scott Walker…as you see, for fairness, the pairings for Governors and Former Governors are decided alphabetically
Bracket 4: NON-FORMER GOVERNORS NOT CURRENTLY IN POLITICAL OFFICE–Dr. Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum and·Donald Trump
From there, you turn three weeks of the political debate schedule into Republican Debate Weeks with each of the four brackets facing off Monday thru Thursday respectively. Following each debate, four groups of constituencies vote on ranking the candidates in each bracket one through four. Each of these constituencies have a differently weighted value in the night’s results·
The public voting, a la “American Idol” (10%)
A panel of party-approved debate and public speech experts (20%)
A poll of random voters from an organization like Gallup or Frank Luntz (30%)
National GOP delegates from all over the country, selected by their state party operation (40%)
Each vote gives 3 points to the debate’s winner, 2 point to the second best, and 1 for the third best candidate in the debate. A cumulative score will send the winner of that bracket to the “Final Four” on Friday night. In case of a tie, the national GOP delegates’ choice will advance to the Friday night final; if still tied, then the debate experts’ winner, then the poll winner. The “Final Four” debate will be scored the same way. After at least three of these debates, the field of candidates should be winnowed down to a manageable number leading to the state primaries starting…if I’m not mistaken, in early August of this year. No, no…I kid, I kid.
Plus, if more than 16 candidates enter the Republican race, each new candidate can be added to one of these debate brackets depending on their current life situation among the categories listed above.
So, of all the options presented at this point for the 2016 Republican presidential debates, I’m thinking that this may be the most fair, equitable, and exciting for those who are political junkies and want to get the most out of their candidate debates and, frankly, their candidates. And if GOP national chairman Reince Priebus sees this, likes it, and thinks it would be valid and valuable, feel free to use it. I offer it as a helpful citizen of the United States. One more thing: I started my proposed formatting for the coming year’s Republican Party presidential debates by offering it in a game show format, “The Republican Squares”. However, something leads me to believe that the general voting public in this country would prefer that their debates model another very famous game show: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMS_DdEnYZ0)