We interrupt KKing David’s poker blog for this special edition on Republican Presidential politics. The first televised debate is scheduled for next Thursday, August 6th, on Fox News.
Once of my favorite sources of information is FiveThirtyEight.com. Back in May, they asked readers to submit ideas about how to stop NBA teams from tanking at the end of already-bad seasons and otherwise improve the NBA draft. There were nearly 7,000 entries, and 538 sent their picks on to NBA commissioner Adam Silver (who actually responded).
Now 538 has done it again. This time, the problem is Fox News’ refusal to state which polls it will use in determining the Top 10 Republican Presidential candidates (out of 17 announced candidates so far… that’s not a typo. 17. Seventeen) to invite to the debate. They again asked readers to submit ideas, serious or silly, for candidate selection and other debate rules.
I submitted two entries. Here is the first one:
How many candidates would you invite to the debate?
A: All of ’em, why not.
Describe your criteria and why you think it’s best.
A: Representative democracy prevails. Since the Republican Party is actually willing to entrust the selection of their Presidential nominee to all individuals who identify as Republicans (with apologies for using the words “identify” and “Republican” in the same sentence; I digress a bit here but somebody has to stand up against people who “identify” as Republican despite the preponderance of evidence to the contrary – Joe the Plumber comes to mind), everybody gets to go to this first dance.
It is tempting to leave out the black guy (Carson), the woman (Fiorina), the Indian (Jindal), the Libertarian (Paul), the Hispanic (Rubio), the lifelong bachelor (Graham), and the guy who keeps setting his own hair on fire (Trump). After all, this is the Republican Party. Once the number of regular white guys gets winnowed down to a few finalists, these outliers have no chance. Repeat: Republican Party. Say it slowly: REE—PUB—LICK—UN… PAR—TEE.
But this is America, and we’re Americans, as in United States of Americans. Invite them all.
By your criteria, who would be included in your debate?
A: In alphabetical order, by last name:
A: The candidates shall be seated at a large, oval table, with cameras at many angles, so a speaker can look or glare at (or away from) any other candidate whilst speaking. No podiums.
Candidates will not be shown on camera at any time when not speaking or being asked a question.
The candidates shall wear identical attire selected by an image consultant. Like a team uniform. No suits or ties. Think Ryder Cup golf team uniforms, not Golden State Warriors’ basketball team uniforms.
Auto-mute microphones when each speaker’s time is up. The moderator also shall have the authority to mute microphones whenever a candidate wanders off topic (with the clock still ticking) while the moderator instructs speaker to return to the topic or question as a condition of un-muting.
A drawing of bingo balls will decide who gets to speak, with replacement (such that someone could get to address two consecutive questions, or none. Consider variations, such as weighting the number of bingo balls for each candidate based on poll, endorsement or fundraising data, NBA lottery-style.
A drawing from a separate set of bingo balls will select the question for each speaker, with replacement. Questions shall be simple and straightforward on a wide range of topics, such that any question would apply to any candidate. (Example: Should recreational marijuana be legal? Why or why not? Or… What would you do to respond to ISIS, Boko Haram and other terrorist groups?)