2024 GOP Presidential Debates Ignite Controversy Over RNC Sanctioning Rules

Jaxon Wildwood

Updated Friday, December 8, 2023 at 12:02 PM CDT

2024 GOP Presidential Debates Ignite Controversy Over RNC Sanctioning Rules

The road to the 2024 Republican presidential nomination is heating up with major media outlets CNN and ABC News/WMUR-TV announcing their plans to host debates in key early voting states, Iowa and New Hampshire, despite the Republican National Committee's (RNC) current sanctioning rules. Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire is set to be the battleground for the Republican contenders with ABC's debate scheduled for January 18 and CNN's for January 21, 2023. Prior to these, CNN will also host a debate at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, on January 10, 2023, five days before the pivotal Iowa caucuses.

While Saint Anselm College has a history of hosting presidential debates since 2008, their officials were notably absent from CNN's announcements, contrasting with Drake University's public statement regarding their hosting role. Adding to the complexity, Keith Schipper of the RNC has stated that CNN's planned debates are not sanctioned by the committee. In contrast, Chris Ager, chair of the New Hampshire Republican State Committee, has indicated that ABC's debate would adhere to RNC guidelines.

This schism has led the RNC's Debates Committee to consider a policy change that could allow candidates to participate in non-RNC-approved debates. Currently, RNC rules prevent candidates who participate in unsanctioned debates from joining future RNC-approved ones. The enforcement of these rules has already affected candidates Vivek Ramaswamy and Chris Christie, who were barred from a Fox News Channel debate, prompting Christie to label the RNC's rules as contributing to a "brokered and rigged nomination process."

The RNC is now expected to convene to discuss potentially scrapping the rule that bars participation in unsanctioned debates, a rule that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has criticized for potentially favoring Donald Trump. CNN's announcement of their 2024 debates has come before the RNC's definitive stance on this issue, setting the stage for a possible clash.

To qualify for CNN's Iowa debate, candidates must have at least 10% support in three separate polls, either nationally or specific to Iowa, with the top three finishers in the Iowa caucuses automatically invited to CNN's New Hampshire debate. The qualifying window for these events ends on January 2 for Iowa and January 16 for New Hampshire.

At present, based on POLITICO's analysis, only Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, and Nikki Haley meet the criteria for the Iowa debate, while only Trump and Haley qualify for New Hampshire. DeSantis, currently second in Iowa polling averages, has a notably lower support base in New Hampshire. Christie and Ramaswamy, meanwhile, have not met CNN's criteria for either debate.

ABC News is set to continue its historical partnership with WMUR-TV for a debate before the New Hampshire primary, emphasizing the importance of these early states in shaping the presidential field. The debate announcements followed a debate featuring prominent Republicans, with the RNC's position on debate participation becoming a focal point of contention.

As the RNC deliberates over its rules and candidates navigate the complex landscape of debate qualifications, the stage is set for a series of high-stakes confrontations that will undoubtedly shape the Republican primary race. With reporting from Holly Ramer of the Associated Press, the political world awaits further developments as the 2024 election cycle intensifies.

Conservative Bias:

Once again, the liberally-biased media outlets like CNN are trying to subvert the Republican process by setting up their own debates, disregarding the sanctity of the RNC's rules. They're attempting to create a circus, undermining the authority of the Republican National Committee and pushing their own agenda to weaken conservative voices. The RNC's rules are there to ensure fairness and order, but CNN, in its typical left-wing fashion, is pushing ahead with debates that could fracture the party and give the liberal media more ammunition to attack our candidates. It's clear they're trying to manipulate the outcome, favoring chaos over the unity and strength of the Republican Party. This is nothing short of a liberal plot to sow discord and confusion among conservatives, as they fear the rising tide of patriotic Americans who are set to take back the White House in 2024.

Liberal Bias:

The Republican National Committee is blatantly trying to rig the 2024 nomination process to benefit Trump, as they have in the past. Their draconian rules are designed to stifle debate and silence any opposition within the party, effectively shutting out any candidate who dares to challenge Trump's stranglehold on the GOP. The RNC's refusal to sanction debates hosted by major networks like CNN is a clear attempt to control the narrative and protect their chosen one from any real scrutiny or challenge. This is an affront to democracy and the principles of open and fair political discourse. The RNC's actions are undemocratic, and their attempts to muzzle the media and their own candidates reveal a party in fear, desperately clinging to power and willing to t****le on the democratic process to maintain it.

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