While many of us enjoyed the mature and professional manner in which the first Democratic presidential debate was held, I’m sure we’re all still well aware that Republicans have a debate coming up on the 28th which will once again remind us what an absolute circus the GOP presidential primary has been.
In fact, we’re already seeing signs of what we can expect from the next Republican debate as Donald Trump and Ben Carson are threatening to boycott the event if their demands aren’t met. Apparently the two frontrunners, and a couple of other candidates, aren’t quite happy with the format CNBC currently has set up for the debate.
The issues seem to be that neither Trump nor Carson wants the debate to last longer than two hours (with commercials) and they’re not happy that the current format doesn’t allow for opening or closing arguments.
Naturally, Trump took to Twitter to air his grievances:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 15, 2015
Before going on, let’s just look at the logistics of this, shall we?
With the current setup where a candidate must be polling at three percent to get on the main debate stage, that would currently qualify around nine candidates. If you gave each candidate a 90 second opening and closing statement, that’s 27 minutes devoted just to opening and closing statements.
Meaning that, if CNBC kept the time limit to a total of two hours, that leaves 93 minutes for actual debate – without commercials. Factor in around 15 minutes for commercials, that leaves a grand total of 78 minutes for actual debate – or around 8.7 minutes per candidate.
For comparison, Trump spoke for over 18 minutes during the second debate.
But even going beyond the basic math I just used, common sense needs to play a factor here. The reason why the Democratic debate was shorter than what we’ve seen with Republicans is there were only five candidates – not eleven like we had on the main stage during the second GOP debate.
The issue here is networks are now trying to find ways to make these Republican debates more condensed because the first two (especially the second) lasted entirely too long. But unless you’re going to cut vital parts of a debate (which I happen to agree that candidates should have opening and closing statements), you can’t conduct one of these events with 9 to 11 candidates in two hours. The bottom line is, until this field is drastically reduced (5 to 8 candidates), these debates are going to likely last at least three hours, if not longer.
But make no mistake about it, no matter what CNBC ultimately decides to do, no serious Republican is going to skip the debate. This is nothing but a childish temper tantrum being thrown by the usual suspects who spend just as much time whining about the media as they do talking about the issues.
At the end of the day, what Donald Trump and Ben Carson are really crying about is the fact that their party is such a sideshow that it’s essentially impossible for the networks hosting these debates (including Fox News) to accommodate the circus and the demands of the clowns performing in it.
Update: CNBC has given into the demands and will alter their format.
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