The GOP has been less than pleased with its most recent debate hosted by CNBC, to say the least. The Republican National Committee reacted to what it called a debate that descended into "a series of 'gotcha' questions, petty and mean-spirited in tone" by pulling out of an upcoming February debate that was supposed to be hosted by parent network NBC and Spanish language channel Telemundo. Candidates are now drafting letters to subsequent networks who will be hosting the remaining debates in hopes of allowing for equal time for candidates as well as changing the overall format and running time. For this very reason, the Republican Party should have its own forum to allow presidential hopefuls the opportunity to not only have an adequate chance to articulate their views but to do so without distractions.
What exactly is a debate forum? The format, which will be used in a Friday event hosted by Rachel Maddow and will feature the three Democratic candidates — Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O'Malley — has participants being more or less interviewed rather than debating each other. For that reason, the debate forum is not a sanctioned debate but rather an additional opportunity for presidential hopefuls to make their case as to why they should be elected. The event is similarly held in front of a live audience and includes questions about pressing issues currently facing the country.
Many Republican demands could be mitigated by simply holding a similar event or series of events, as there are far more candidates on the right than there are on the left. According to Bloomberg Politics, five GOP candidates are expected to sign a request letter drafted by the RNC that include simple demands, like the temperature of a venue and the event's overall format. Had the GOP simply sought a supplemental event, multiple meetings and revised letters would not be needed. Instead, candidates could focus on bringing their message to the American people rather than causing a rift between themselves and debate hosts.
Former GOP debate moderator and Fox News journalist Megyn Kelly has already taken issue with one particular demand that candidate Ted Cruz mentioned while being interviewed on The Kelly File. Cruz stated that his one request was that all moderators be Republicans — or at least had voted in a GOP primary at least once in their life. In response to the ridiculous request, Kelly asked, "Would we have to submit our voting records to you?"
This is the type of issue that seems more of a distraction than a legitimate debate concern, which is exactly what a debate forum would solve by shifting the focus away from moderator interaction and onto the candidates themselves. Perhaps the RNC can take the debate they pulled out of and instead implement a similar event as the Democratic debate forum.