Following the vast number of 2011-2012 GOP primary debates, there was a tremendous outcry on the part of Republicans to establish some sort of control over the frequency and moderation of said debates. According to RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, numerous options are being explored.
The Chairman explained some of this in an interview with National Review:
GERAGHTY: One of the intriguing points I saw raised in the discussions that this group has had is the recommendation of changes to the presidential-primary schedule. Are you hoping to see changes in how the primaries are set up?
PRIEBUS: One of the major topics that people discuss is the debate issue — controlling the debates and tying the nomination process to the debate calendar is something we’re going to look at. Now, we didn’t have that opportunity two years ago; there is no mechanism to tie the nomination process to the debate calendar. But we have that opportunity now. We can do that with a three-quarters vote of the Republican National Committee. Here’s a hypothetical. The RNC could hypothetically say, “Look, here’s the debate calendar. Here are the moderators. We’re going to have one debate a month starting on this day.” And adherence to the calendar will be a requirement to achieving the nomination to the presidency — either through bonus delegates or penalties of delegates subtracted. There is one major reason that a presidential candidate needs the Republican party: To get on the ballot in November, a presidential candidate must get a majority of delegates at a national convention to vote for him or her. If the presidential candidate can’t make that happen, he or she is not on the ballot. So that is one idea that we will be looking at.
If you have ten presidential candidates, and seven out of ten or eight out of ten will take whatever two-hour slot that is open to them, then you end up with a debate any time some cable network decides to hold one. You can’t control that situation. Our endeavor is to come up with some idea that helps us control that situation.
The frequency of GOP debates was mind-blowing, especially in January of 2012 which saw many debates in the time span of a couple weeks. Debates are great traffic for this website but do too may hurt the process and marginalize the candidates? This will be a question both Democrats and Republicans will have to answer in 2015-2016 when both parties hold nomination contests.
Exit question: How do you “fix” the primary debate process if you’re the party Chairman?