Much has been made of the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) attempt to control and reduce the number of primary debates taking place in 2016 as compared to 2012. So far, the RNC has released a list of officially sanctioned debates which we’ve list on the Republican debate schedule. One candidate in particular, besides Newt Gingrich, is now taking issue with these measures.

Report from Yahoo News:

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Monday morning dismissed the Republican National Committee’s efforts to reduce the number of debates in the Republican presidential primary, and to shorten the primary process, calling the RNC’s changes “futile.”

Jindal also made clear he has no plans – if he runs for the nomination – to abide by the RNC’s attempt to keep candidates from participating in debates that are not sanctioned by the party committee.

“I know there is a lot of concern, especially in this town among Republican party leaders,” Jindal said. “There’s this ideal of theirs, this idealistic belief, that if we could just have fewer debates, if we could have a gentler, kinder nominating process, that would be good for the party and good for the nominee. Well you know what? Democracy is messy.”

“And the donors, the political leaders, the establishment, the pundits, they don’t get to pick our nominee,” Jindal said at a breakfast with reporters hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has made clear over the past two years that he believes the 2012 Republican primary was a mess, which dragged on for too long and allowed for too many debates, leading to constant intraparty fighting and exhausting the candidates. The RNC currently says it will sanction nine Republican debates, with an option to add three more.

I would say candidates like Jindal, among others, have the most to lose by the limited debate schedule and top-down control of the process. The large number of debates in 2012 gave lesser known candidates far more face time and many more opportunities to have “their moment” in the spotlight to garner national attention. Of course, if Jindal can’t make the polling cut-off, he may not have to worry about these debates anyway.


  1. Is it true that you have to score in Iowa to be allowed on the stage of a GOP debate? Why Iowa? That one state, which has less than 1% of our population, and a very unique makeup? 92.5% white, older and more male than the US average. 3.3% black (as opposed to 13.2% average), 5.5% Hispanic (as opposed to 17.1% average), less educated, lower income, less densely populated. This is hardly the typical state.

    • I’m not sure how they’ll work it for the first few debates, probably go by national polling where they’ll need an average of 1 or 2% or something in three national polls.

      As it gets close to Iowa and New Hampshire, they’ll move to a threshold on state level polling with an average of something in a few Iowa caucus polls for example.

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