Opinion Column: Candidate overload poses problem for GOP primary debates (Free-Lance Star)

free lance star

By Stephen J. Farnsworth

How many Republican presidential candidates are too many? Fox News and CNN, which host the first two debates this summer, don’t want to see more than 10 of them at once.

Both television networks want to limit participation in their debates to the top 10 candidates as measured in national polls. CNN plans to offer a junior varsity event for excluded candidates, and Fox News is talking about doing something similar.

While a debate with more than 10 participants would be unwieldy, to be sure, limiting participation on the basis of public opinion results presumes that polls are far more accurate than they really are.

Relying on surveys also places too much control over the presidential nomination process in the hands of journalists—a group that many Republicans often view skeptically.

Link to column