The Win For Feminism In The GOP Debate That You Didn’t Even Notice

Will you be watching the sixth Republican presidential debate on Thursday? It'll be the first time you'll see candidates of either party face-off in the new year, and if you've watched the previous debates, it might look a little familiar. It's being hosted by Fox Business Network, just like the Nov. 11 debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The channel did a fair amount of patting itself on the back after that last one, but there's one thing they do deserve some credit for — a rare feminist win in a GOP debate, if you will. Both of the undercard debate moderators are women: Trish Regan, host of The Intelligence Report, and network business reporter Sandra Smith.

In fact, when you further consider that Maria Bartiromo makes up one-half of the primetime debate moderators, alongside FBN and Fox News host Neil Cavuto, it's even more striking ― three of the four people questioning the candidates during FBN's debate night will be women, which is at bare minimum is a win for representation in political media.

Sure, it might sound like damning with faint praise. It is a Republican debate, after all, so your chances of getting some kind of typically progressive, feminist message from the candidates themselves aren't so hot (exempting Carly Fiorina's direct rebuke of Donald Trump in the second one). But it's also easy to lose sight of just how radical a proposition this would've been, say, four or five decades ago, when the realm of "serious" political opinion was limited almost exclusively to men. However you want to slice it with regards to the politics of the channel, or of the moderators themselves (this is Fox we're talking about, after all), it's still refreshing to see.

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Regan and Smith will be helming the sixth of the undercard debates, which have also been referred to (rather derisively) as the "kid's table" debates. Thanks to the Republicans' bloated presidential field, channels have been running early afternoon debates between a host of no-chance candidates. Like, Lindsay Graham, Bobby Jindal, Jim Gilmore-type candidates. Both of them have been through this once before, obviously, so there probably won't be any surprises from their perspectives.

The array of candidates they'll be questioning will have definitely changed somewhat, however: Graham has since dropped out of the race. And this time the primetime debate will have a more strident polling cutoff, meaning the undercard debate could swell considerably, with candidates like Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina and John Kasich threatening to slip down.

As far as the to-ticket debate goes, you can expect a tighter affair than we've been getting lately. According to FBN, only candidates who're polling in the top six spots nationally and in the top five in Iowa and New Hampshire will be invited to the main stage, with the final results announced on Lou Dobbs Tonight on Monday.