All but one of the 17 Republicans vying for the party’s presidential nomination have made the cut so far for the next debates hosted by CNN, the network said on Tuesday in a decision that could leave former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore on the sidelines.
CNN and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, which is co-hosting the Sept. 16 debates, said invitations have been sent by former first lady Nancy Reagan to 16 candidates who meet their criteria. All but Gilmore “have qualified thus far and have received invitations,” they said in a statement.
Earlier this year CNN said candidates must meet certain criteria, including an average of 1 percent of support in three recent national polls. CNN’s latest poll released showed Gilmore at the bottom of the pack with less than one percent.
CNN is taking a different approach than Fox News by being more inclusive and splitting it up into two debates. Yes, it is still imperfect but it gets rid of that “not ready for prime time” slight that FNC did. If we are going to have a primary season that goes on seemingly forever, we may as well use it to vet as many candidates as we can.
Obviously, some criteria have to be established, they just can’t allow for anyone who files the paperwork to get some stage time. The lower-tier candidates who are at least getting some traction should have a chance to make a case for themselves. As these debates aren’t really debates in the purest sense of the word anyway, why not look for ways to make them work for large fields? Having a wealth of different candidates is a good thing, and it shouldn’t be discouraged by television execs who aren’t good at thinking up creative solutions to relatively simply problems.
As this article points out, the field may change drastically by the time CNN has to make its final cuts, so it’s time to get those office pools ready to go.