Dan Gilmore / September 2, 2015

Leading the GOP Field: Candidates With No Prior Office

Grassroots conservatives are fed up with the establishment GOP.

CNN has given Carly Fiorina the chance to appear on the stage at the Sept. 16 presidential primary debate after announcing a changed method for determining which candidates would be invited. Instead of picking the 10 candidates who performed best in the polls conducted from July 16 to Sept. 10, CNN will pick candidates who do well in polls conducted from Aug. 7 to Sept. 10. There haven’t been as may polls during the late summer as CNN predicted, and some candidates who have been gaining popularity would not have made it onto the stage if CNN kept its metric unchanged. And that makes the likes of Indiana Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann happy. She wrote a letter to CNN president Jeff Zucker saying, “Carly Fiorina is a top tier candidate in this race. She won the last debate and has been in the top 10 in every poll released this month. … We are the audience for this debate, and we will not tolerate a TV network inappropriately influencing our primary process.” With Fiorina’s rise after her stellar debate performance, and Ben Carson closing the gap with Donald Trump in the polls, the Republican field is currently led by three candidates who have never held elected office. It demonstrates that a sizable swath of grassroots conservatives are sick and tired of how the establishment GOP (looking at you, John Boehner) has run Washington. And who can blame them? The GOP in Congress caved to Barack Obama’s demands at the beginning of the year when he sought funding for his executive orders on immigration. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refuses to consider defunding Planned Parenthood, despite the growing disgust over its baby-parts trafficking. The primary season is the time for the party to decide its agenda and leadership style. The status quo will no longer do, and CNN has done it’s part to prevent its rules from rigging that discussion.

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