Fox News tweaks debate rules, helps trailing candidates

Marco Rubio, Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Leading those appearances are Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, a liar on the Senate floor, sparking a backlash from other GOP elders. Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee, sitting Govs. When Mr. Obama rebuked Mr. Huckabee Monday for the Holocaust reference, the former governor of Arkansas doubled down with a Facebook video. There also are three candidates who would appear to have no realistic possibility of being among the top 10 in the polls on August 4: former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, former New York Gov. George Pataki and U.S. Sen.


Politico first reported the change, quoting Fox News executive vice president Michael Clemente as the result of “a concerted effort to include and accommodate the now 16 Republican candidate field – the largest in modern political history”.

The easiest way to raise name identification and potentially gain traction in the polls to qualify for that opportunity is television advertising – much of it on Fox.

The rules for the Fox debate – which were sanctioned by the Republican National Committee, to the dismay of lower-performing candidates – originally required contenders to register at least 1% support in the polls to participate at all.

And that doesn’t begin to address the fact that we really want to see the candidates challenging each other, not performing for the moderators. The polls were done by CNN/ORC, Public Policy Polling (PPP), ABC/Washington Post, Fox News, USA Today/Suffolk University, and Monmouth University.

The op-ed comes amid complaints from candidates at risk of exclusion from the forums based on media hosts’ criteria, and as reality-TV star Donald Trump appears to have secured a place in the first debate to the chagrin of many Republicans. This analysis excludes a poll from PPP, a Democratic polling company, on July 21.

Fox News recently shifted the early debate to the more attractive 5 p.m. slot instead of hosting it at 1 p.m. but shortened the debate from 90 minutes to one hour. I do applaud the RNC though for shortening the total number of debates. After all, the primaries don’t start until next February. In most election years they would be correct.

As our editorial board urged earlier this month, Fox should divide the debate into two shorter parts, of eight candidates each, and broadcast both segments. Clips from that first debate will be replayed ad nauseum for days after the actual event, magnifying its importance.


Ohio Republican Party officials say the online process to request tickets closed yesterday after they were all spoken for.

MYRTLE BEACH SC- JANUARY 16 Workers prepare the stage for the Fox News  Wall Street Journal  South Carolina GOP debate at the Sheraton Myrtle Beach Convention Center