Will Mike Huckabee Be In The Primetime Republican Debate? The 2016 Race Has Been Shaken Up
Buck up kids, because the next GOP debate is going to be very different. As we close in on the Nov. 10 debate, Fox Business Network has announced the candidates who have successfully qualified for the main stage debate. The most shocking news? Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee won't be in the primetime Republican debate.
The decision comes as a large blow to both men, who had been invited to the main stage for the previous three GOP debates. But neither were able to acquire the 2.5 percent polling average required to qualify for the primetime debate. As a result, only eight candidates will debate during the main event at 9 p.m., while Christie and Huckabee will be joining their lower polling colleagues at 7 p.m. for the happy hour debate.
They aren't the only ones to be demoted, however. In order to qualify for the undercard debate, candidates had to poll at 1 percent nationally in at least one of four national polls. Neither Lindsey Graham nor George Pataki qualified. Instead, Huckabee and Christie will be squaring off against Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum. Although the news is a hit to Christie's campaign, which has been scrambling for leverage, Huckabee has been dropping in the polls for a while. Despite once bringing in tremendous support among Evangelical Christians, the numbers just aren't there for Huckabee.
With the exception of Carly Fiorina, the JV debates have been like a kiss of death for Republican candidates. Fiorina has thus far been the only candidate to graduate to the main stage, and while other candidates have received polling bumps from the debates, those spikes don't seem to extend to the undercard participants.
The good news for Huckabee, however, is that this leaves him free to live tweet the main event — because, next to Trump, Huckabee is one of the more active Twitter users. During the first Democratic debate, Huckabee managed to make himself momentarily relevant by unleashing a stream of offensive and somewhat racist tweets throughout the night.
During the GOP debates, Huckabee has established a reputation for being blunt and to the point, particularly when it comes to social issues such as reproductive rights, or gender equality. In the first debate, Huckabee vowed to use the Constitution in order to restrict abortion access, while stating that he would like to give unborn children the right to due process. During the same debate, he said that the point of the military is to "kill people and break things," not to serve as a "social experiment" by allowing transgender individuals to serve. And in the second debate, he said he would put his wife on the $10 bill so that she could finally spend her own money.
While the nation will undoubtedly be suffering from the loss of such stunning political rhetoric as this, having Huckabee out of the main stage debate is a good thing. With only eight candidates on stage, it clears the field, and pulls one of the more outspoken contenders out of the limelight. Which means that it won't feel like a rehash of the past two debates — and might hopefully provide room for some more substantive discussion.