In my previous post, I provided a copy of my entry into FiveThirtyEight.com’s reader contest for ideas about how to select the candidates to invite to Fox News’ upcoming Republican Presidential debate.
Here is my second contest entry:
How many candidates would you invite to the debate?
Describe your criteria and why you think it’s best.
A: Since this is Fox News and the Republican Party, we’re not seriously going to let “the people” decide who will be nominated for President. There is no good Fox-worthy reason to parade a bunch of loonies across the stage, unless of course it’s Jeff Foxworthy’s show. Which it’s not. So we’ll select only the top two legitimate candidates, who happen to be 2nd and 3rd in national polls.
By your criteria, who would be included in your debate?
A: Jeb Bush and Scott Walker
So, what other rules would you have at your debate? Anything goes. It’s your debate.
A: For the official debate, we’ll give each candidate an alternating three minutes to talk, with a hard stop imposed by muting the microphone at the of each turn. A coin flip will determine who goes first. No questions… just take turns speaking and responding. Debating. The only role for a moderator is to say “Thank you Mr. ______. Mr. ______ now it is your turn.”
For all of the other announced candidates, sorry, but your participation can only turn this into a debate about nothing. So for you, we will have an alternative forum about nothing, borrowing a format from our favorite TV show about nothing: Seinfeld.
Specifically, the other candidates will have a “Festivus” debate. Since Festivus is “for the rest of us” all other announced candidates will be invited. The stage will be adorned with an aluminum pole, whose very high strength-to-weight ratio makes it highly attractive. [Writer’s note: although not included in my submission, while copying this into this blog post it occurs to me that I wish I had called it a “Job Creating Aluminum Pole,” since Republican candidates tend to describe everything they support as “job creating” and everything they oppose as “job killing” regardless of any actual causal relationship. But I digress.] All candidates will stand haphazardly on the stage, with no podiums or other props.
The event will begin with “Airing of Grievances” in which each candidate will have four minutes to lash out, passing a hand-held microphone to each other when assigned to speak. The speaking order will be determined via auction, with the highest bidder choosing when they want to speak, followed by the 2nd highest bidder, etc.. After all, money does matter in politics.
Airing of Grievances will be followed by “Feats of Strength.” In Seinfeld’s Festivus, tradition states that Festivus isn’t over until someone pins the head of household in a wrestling match. This role will be appropriated to the leader in the most recent polls, currently Trump. The 2nd highest polling candidate will wrestle Trump in a made-for-Republicans wrestling ring until pinning him, or until Trump pins #2, or either one concedes. It really does not matter which poll or average of polls is used to select the 2nd candidate, as long as Trump is the first. That’s what viewers are going to tune in for.
Once the outcome is decided, the #3 candidate will enter the Feats of Strength ring to wrestle the winner between Trump and #2, and so on until the very last candidate has his (or Carly’s) chance to wrestle and emerge as the winner. There will be no time limit.
Feats of Strength matches will be posted to YouTube and also re-playable via Fox News’ website.