April 19, 2022

GOP Officially Tells Debate Commission to Pound Sand

The RNC unanimously voted to reject participation in any debates run by the biased Commission on Presidential Debates.

The Republican National Committee (RNC) has voted unanimously to no longer work with the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). In a statement, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel explained, “Debates are an important part of the democratic process, but this outdated organization has had a monopoly on organizing general election presidential debates and, for far too long, has shown clear bias against Republican candidates.” However, McDaniel emphasized, “We are not walking away from debates. We are walking away from the CPD.”

This development didn’t come as a surprise. Months ago, the RNC expressed displeasure with the CPD and sent a list of issues it demanded needed to be addressed in order for the Republican Party to agree to continue to work with the 35-year-old organization. The RNC’s list of demands included holding at least one debate before any early voting commences, “selecting balanced and unbiased moderators who have never worked for candidates on the debate stage, and prohibiting board members from publicly disparaging nominees.” In other words, utterly basic stuff. The RNC needed a commitment from the CPD that it would fix these issues, which the CPD subsequently refused.

The RNC is now calling for “new, unbiased, modern debate platforms” where Republican candidates will get a fair opportunity to present themselves and their policy positions to the American people free from a debate format that seeks to intentionally mislead the public and malign the candidates.

McDaniel noted that the RNC’s objection to the CPD is all due to well-established examples over several years of the commission’s bias against Republicans. McDaniel pointed to the fact that in 2020, Steve Scully was selected by the CPD to moderate a debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump despite the fact that Scully once interned for Biden. It was later learned that Scully sought advice prior to the debate on how best to attack Trump. In 2012, CNN moderator Candy Crowley infamously injected herself into the debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, erroneously “fact-checking” Romney’s correct claim that Obama had failed to call the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi an “act of terror.” In 2016, CNN’s Anderson Cooper, a partisan hack if there ever was one, was picked to preside over a debate.

Of course, Leftmedia outlets responded to the RNC’s decision with hyperbolic and baseless assertions that the Republican Party is threatening American democracy. CNN’s John Avlon added his own ridiculous spin, characterizing the RNC’s “true” motivation as “trying to shut down presidential debates” because Republicans lack “confidence in being able to win a contest of ideas.” Talk about projection. And never mind the fact the McDaniel and the RNC expressly called for new unbiased debate platforms.

In the end, the deeper question is why the CPD decided to rebuff the legitimate issues raised by the RNC. Maybe the response from commission co-chairman Frank Fahnrenkopf says it all — he contended it was because the RNC “wanted to control things we aren’t prepared to let them control.” In other words, the CPD thinks too highly of its own importance to seriously consider the objections of a political party it clearly detests.

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