A major change may be on the horizon for presidential debates

Remember the 2020 presidential debates, when the ostensibly impartial hosts seemed to team up with then-candidate Joe Biden against then-President Donald Trump? The Republican National Committee (RNC) is taking steps to ensure that this sort of thing never happens again.

Fox News reports that the RNC is threatening to boycott the 2024 presidential debates sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) should the CPD not significantly reform itself. 

“A level playing field”

Fox’s report is based on a letter that the RNC sent to the CPD.

The letter follows months of talks between the RNC the commission following the debacle that was the 2020 presidential debates. Based on the contents of the letter, the RNC is not happy with the way these talks have gone.

“The RNC has a duty to ensure that its future presidential nominees have the opportunity to debate their opponents on a level playing field,” the letter reads. “So long as the CPD appears intent on stonewalling the meaningful reforms necessary to restore its credibility with the Republican Party as a fair and nonpartisan actor, the RNC will take every step to ensure that future Republican presidential nominees are given that opportunity elsewhere.”

One of those steps that the RNC says that it will take is to have future GOP presidential and vice-presidential candidates pledge not to participate in debates run by the CPD.

The CPD and DNC respond

The CPD gave to Fox a statement in response to the RNC’s letter.

In part, the statement reads:

. . . the CPD deals directly with candidates for president and vice president who qualify for participation in the CPD’s general election debates. The CPD’s plans for 2024 will be based on fairness, neutrality, and a firm commitment to help the American public learn about the candidates and the issues.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) also released a statement of its own in response to the RNC’s letter.

That statement reads:

Republicans can’t win a fair fight and they know it. After years of having their toxic policies exposed on the national stage, the RNC has decided they would rather hide their ideas and candidates from voters. And during the last presidential election, the Republicans decided to not have a platform for the first time ever so it’s a natural progression, first no platform and now no debates. Regardless of the RNC’s tantrum, voters can count on hearing from President Biden and Vice President Harris who are proud of their records.

What now?

It seems that the CPD does not plan on giving in to the RNC. But, this could change if the Republican 2024 candidates choose to go along with the RNC and not participate in any CPD debates.

This could lead to a significant change in how presidential debates are conducted, perhaps even the elimination of the CPD. Based on what we saw in 2020, this could only be a good thing.

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