Rethinking FOX News Choice of Republican Aspirants to participate in Party’s first 2016 contest debate

Keywords or Text: Republican Party Debate; FOX News; Five National Polls; Gate Keeper; Influential Player; Multiple Polster and pollings; Effective Criteria of Choice Candidates; Skeptics; Supporters; Jeb Bush; Scott Walker; Donald Trump; Chris Christie; Rick Perry; Newt Gingrich; Mitt Romney; Illinois and Florida; Los Angeles Times; hyperbolic assessment; Debate’s Singular Performance; and Electronic Media Kingmaker

That Republican Presidential Aspirants’ debate scheduled for Thursday, August 6th, 2015 is already considered and perceived as a restrictive process. The organizer, FOX-News, may find itself in deep trouble concerning issues of fairness, representation and creditability. Only ten candidates will be chosen and qualified to appear in the debate, including Governor Jeb Bush, Governor Scott Walker and Real Estate Mogul, Donald Trump. According to the debate organizer, participants in the debate are chosen based on five most recent nationally trending opinion polls, conducted by multiple pollsters or organizations, with FOX-News hardly privy to the formula used by each pollster and probably having very little certainties about the conduct of these five national polls, their associated statistical error of margins or differentials, and any other factor that may hamper the chances of a Republican aspirant participating in the nationally televised debate towards the 2016 Party flag bearer. Imagine a situation in which there is a tie in the polls for the tenth and last candidate: who will be in and who will be out? Los Angeles Times reported that FOX-News media analyst, Howard Kurtz, acknowledges that no sustained questioning would be possible if debate participation is broadly inclusive as ever; say, about eighteen candidates are invited to participate and this probably could lead to bad television! Notwithstanding, with the current arrangement, FOX-News and television has appointed itself the primary gatekeeper and influential player in the Republican Party’s Campaign for 2016 White House.

The lesson to be learned from the experience of short listing “qualifiable” candidates for the debate is probably going to be different when its comes to Democrats’ seeking the oval office in 2016. Skeptics of the shortlisting criteria used by FOX-News and Television are alleging that the news outlet is playing lip-service to “fairness” in the qualification of the notified candidates scheduled to appear in the debate. Skeptics are certain that the effective criteria that may have been prudent is to include all the eighteen or so Republicans who have indicated interest in the race; by so doing, a sense of serving the interest of all representative groups of voters supporting each of the Republican aspirants would have been registered and or acknowledged. For this group, it is simply illusory to think a network’s generated criteria, based on hyperbolic assessment of who is trending in current five national polls, is sufficient enough to pick aspirants to participate in the first party’s debate.

Further, it is probably erroneous to adopt criteria, or part of criteria, used by other persons or polling organizations to shortlist ten contestants for the debate. The error comes out of the assumption that the criteria used by the polling organizations are ideal, locked in time, and reasonable enough to indicate Republican Party’s voters’ preferences of who should be on the rostrum come tomorrow's night. In addition, skeptics believe the current list of candidates scheduled to appear douses the high expectation of all Republicans for the debate points on national issues that impact every American lives; and or, concern the hopes and aspirations of members of American Republican Party. For this group, the debate process could be revitalized, if every aspirant is given a shot at making the representation before all Republicans, viewers and listeners of the program. Supporters of the current debaters’ list and criteria used by FOX-News  and Television insist that, due to time constraints, debate logistics and probably the need for high program rating, it is quite unreasonable and functionally difficult, to have every one of the Republican aspirants on the stage making a case for his or her candidacy. Skeptics still insist, some Republican Aspirants for the 2016 contest are marginalized by the process FOX-News and Television has adopted in shortlisting the ten candidates to appear; and this practically has the potential of impeding objective and positive outcomes for the first debate.

Neither of these positions is fully convincing. Any aspirant singular debate performance, while useful in gauging affinity of voters, hardly guarantees better outcome for the ultimate winner of the party’s flag bearer's status; and or, complete voters’ preference of an ideal candidate to win the ultimate prize. Yes, it is possible to weed out the wheat from the chaff; however, at what expense is this being done. Representation of opinions in a radio or televised debate and making a case for one’s candidature can either catapult or sink a candidate’s ambition in earnest in this first time out exercise. Indeed, the concerns for many independent observers of this process is probably, that other candidates not present on the rostrum tomorrow night, have a better chance of building a much formidable candidacy after finding out the weaknesses from the ten candidates present on the rostrum. With executives and members’ concerns emerging from declarations of current presumptive front-runners, including comments credited to some of them on a number of social and economic issues, Jeb Bush going after Medicare and Social Security, Scott Walker barraging Union Powers and Donald Trump’s repeated racial derogation or slurs and others, the debate tomorrow may open further other short-comings of participating aspirants regarding issues of utmost concern for Republicans as well as all Americans.

What if Jeb Bush delves further into his conviction to undermine US Social Security or tank Medicare? What if Scott Walker is able to expose his ignorance of the workings of American Foreign Policy, US Employees Union organization or the effective constraints necessary for dealing with international terrorist groups as AlQaida, ISIS or other tones? Would Donald Trump’s uneasiness in acceding to Party’s leadership preferences for restraint in talking about minority groups in America be exposed at the debate? Can the differential level of modesty be deduced from Republican aspirants debating Iran Nuclear deal or the recently announced emission standards for America’s generating power plants? How would a non-debate participating Republican aspirant view defense(s) from participating parents of past Twits or comments: 1) Scott Walker’s undoing any nuclear agreement on “Day One” of his Presidency; 2) Chris Christie warning Republican Party’s donors against backing an aspirant who flip-flops on important issues; or his conviction that the party ought to pay more attention to American voters who traditionally vote Democratic; 3) Rick Perry’s argument that the nuclear deal with Iran is riddled with concession from the Obama’s Administration; 4) Could Scott Walker’s backing away from the Common Core Education Standard after initial support, or his constant change on immigration reform, do him in at the debate? 5) Could Chris Christie’s reservation over Republican Party echelon's focus on data in the run-up to the presidential election or party nomination process, be more pronounced in this first debate? 6) Could Governor Christi’s call to Republicans to focus more on connecting with all Americans, not just the traditionally connected focus groups of the Republican Party, the way of the future? 7) Does data truly drive all elections, or is Christie’s position that no amount of data could correct for a bad candidate is credible enough to jettison the focus of the Republican Party for a true flag bearer? Could answers to all these and more questions, afford opportunities for a non-participating debate aspirant to edge up a nut in future polls? And or, will a non-participating debate aspirant cash in on an appealing slogan that could undermine a participating aspirant, who is unfortunate to make an unforgivable mistake, like a failure to remember a particular point that he or she has previous horned upon; thereby, denying the aspirant’s viability chances of being the party’s flag bearer for the national contest? Unless the issue of inclusiveness is addressed, FOX-News suffers the unenviable status of being labelled as unilaterally minded with the singular objective of building up its broadcast’s rating and serving its money-making agenda at the expense of Republican Party’s objectives and interests.

Frankly, the marginalization of an aspirant’s chances is much deeper than the exclusion from the first debate. Nationally televised or broadcasted debates can build up name recognition(s) for hitherto nationally reclusive candidates; however, time limitation or constraints for each participant included in an overcrowded rostrum could still hamper a candidate’s message from getting to voters. It is not merely due to the shortness of time to make a credible case for why an aspirant should be chosen over a multiple of others, but because of the nature of human behavior and perceptions of an overcrowded field. A debate viewer or listener may misunderstand the argument of an aspirant’s representation of a position; and because there is hardly an opportunity for a do-over in time-limited debate or making credible case for whatever message the candidate is attempting to pass on, the candidate is still short changed. It is possible to see the time limit or constraints as a plus when a candidate makes a snafu; however, in an age of short-attention span, good candidates with great messages can still be unable to articulate their argument within few seconds under the glare of lights, cameramen and microphones.

Recently, the Republican Party seems to be in a consensus malaise crisis, with one of their far right groups finding it difficult to build consensus with moderate members in discussions over party’s preferences, resulting in name calling and isolation of individual(s) or group members in party’s functions designed to build support for the broader platform of the Republican Party. Nowhere is that more glaring as the recent Koch Brother’s jamboree where Donald Trump is left out of the party’s hopefuls; and or, when discussing the issue of immigration reform. A happenstance situation could be drawn from the earlier ambition of intention to run for the White House by another aspirant long gone from the 2016 race. Consider the situation, when Governor Mitt Romney was mulling over a run for the White House and a furry of oppositions from some deep-pocket donors or party’s establishment, to his pronoucements. Just about the announcement of Mitt Romney’s intention, Jeb Bush was known to have, off the curve, mentioned to a reporter that for him and probably most of establishment Republican Party, the goal is, “Winning with a purpose, winning with a meaning, winning with your integrity, is what I’m talking about”. In this scenerio, effort by Jeb Bush is to cast some aspersion on premptive candidate Mitt Romney. The same could be said of him regarding his position on the Educational Common Core Standard. For a time, Jeb Bush was all about the Common Core; today, his response is probably not well as articulated or probably as forthcoming as initially thought in some quarters regarding the continuity of this initiative on a national scale under a Republican administration.

For the outsider, the Republican Party is in more crisis than ever and this is probably why there are so many splinter groups and opinion leaders in the party, where in some instances, the truth is jettisioned for sensationalism and viable public policies are relegated to ideological preferences that ignore commesense. The fundamental claim to party unity is not very obvious to many, even within the party. There are strategic rivalry at the party’s leadership or top echelon level; one similar to what obtained in the 2012 election. In the run for the White House, the 43rd President, G.W. Bush, held over his announcement of support for Mitt Romney uptil the eleventh hour. Mitt Romney was struggling badly against lesser known Republican aspirants during the 2012 primaries and when he sought support of his candidacy from the higher ups, to assauge the new insurgence in the party, President G.W. Bush held back, sitting on the sidelines, as if the issue was not of relevance to his attention; even as candidate Romney emailed and sent private emissaries to try to win his support. President G.W. Bush was not convinced and Romney went through brutalized campaign with Newt Gringrich in Florida. Just as he  won convincingly the state of Illinois, the 43rd Presdient gave Mitt Romney a thumbs up or blessing, just as the nomination process was already foregone with the numbers of delegates already in Romney’s kitty.

The truth of the matter is politics is a brutal exercise and one’s presumptive debate performance hardly determines the success of a budding campaign; and or failures of other candidates’. It in fact does not completely convince other supporters who are heavy weights in one’s party and who can make a quick difference to one’s candidature to quickly rally around one’s effort to brake away from the pack. Any first misteps in an exercise as this could be delirious and fatal for a financailly strapped candidacy; or one not yet on a solid ground. Sadly too, the blessing of party’s insiders or heavyweights, does not completely guarantees a win, as always on a national ticket. Each candidate has to earn the trust and support of party voters and those of American voters in general elections to make a difference in the long walk to 1600 Pennsyvania Avenue. There are obviously going to be the highs and lows of the campaign, there is going to be difficult nights and successful nights of debates, the trick is to plod on and never give up. Now, with the advent of FOX-News picking winners and losers of who makes it to the debate rostrum, we now have another Kingsmaker, an electronic presidential debate media kingsmaker!

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