But the problem for Jindal is that those numbers gained potentially enormous importance for his quest when Fox News and CNN announced last month that polling results will determine which candidates appear in the first nationally televised debates of the campaign this summer. Those debates will take place months ahead of what’s been the traditional start to the culling process for the nomination — the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 1 and the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 9.SPOILER ALERT: The debates will not be manageable anyway. Why not just figure out a way to accommodate more candidates?
With 15 or more Republicans expected to run, the networks will winnow the ranks to make the debates manageable.
I mean, we already know there's a high degree of farce in this process, what with the money primary and the vanity candidates and the... my God what, even is this? You'd think that the journalers might want to make this more interesting for their viewers, at least.... let alone a relevant exercise for voters. Why not find ways to shake it up? Give all these nuts some time at the mic. If there are too many, have them debate in heats. Have lots of debates. Try and feature everybody one way or another.
Debates are the rare moments of the campaign when there is a chance, not only that something might go off-script, but that that unscripted thing will be related to an actual bonafide campaign issue up for discussion. If the voters are going to dislike the candidates, at least give them a chance to actively make that decision during a policy argument rather than through advertising.. or the received wisdom of the punditry. That would at least be somewhat democracy-like.
But that's probably not good for business. Not for the networks who sell ads, nor for the pundits who sell wisdom. They like the pageant just as it is.
The monthslong run-up to the actual nomination in July 2016 is less about issues and more about image and electability, said Dan Birdsong, a political scientist at the University of Dayton in Ohio.God forbid we do anything to change that.
“It’s really about the projection of strength, the projection of leadership, the projection of being presidential,” Birdsong said. A candidate absent from the debates may miss a crucial opportunity to project anything, he said: “You look weak no matter what you do.”