Sunday, August 28, 2016

Is the Debate Commission Already Stacking the Deck in Favor of Trump?

His first salvo was that fake letter from the NFL that happened in the same parallel universe where there were NJ Muslims cheering 9/11, climate change is a hoax, he can't release his tax returns because he's being audited, his budget adds up, he is the friend of LGBT people as he hates Muslims, and Hillary Clinton is the bigot.

Yet, there is concern that the debate commission is already letting itself get roiled.

"There's something I want to flag. There's always been some debate over whether the national debate 'commission', which no one picked to be in charge of debates but simply created itself, should control the presidential debate regime. That said, they've actually done quite a good job of it over the generation they've run the process. As political debates go, the debates are pretty substantive. And they've made it much more difficult for the frontrunner to set the terms of debating or in theory choose not to debate at all. Aside from minor negotiations at the margins, they've never budged from any of their decisions over format, moderators, timing, etc. But ... this year we still haven't heard who the moderators are going to be because the Commission is trying to be sure they pick people who Donald Trump or his supporters won't view as biased against him."

The idea that they have to handpick people he and his supporters won't see as biased is a disaster. That leaves who exactly? Sean Hannity, Rudy Giuliani or Hugh Hewitt?

"That is a huge, huge problem. Obviously this should always be a top priority. The moderators shouldn't have a bias against either candidate. But Trump of course sees everybody who is not obsequious and toady-ish as biased against him. Over recent weeks he's made Sean Hannity his official interviewer, like a doofus Boswell to Trump's clownshow Dr. Johnson."

"He tried to set the tone with those silly complaints about conflicts with NFL games. And the only reason to be especially solicitous of these concerns is that Trump has a history of complaining. This is no more than recapitulating his strategy through life, business and this political race: start with aggressive over-the-top demands, try to assert dominance at the outset so as to engage solely on his own terms and with his dominance already an accepted fact."

"In any case, they're not going to find anybody Trump won't claim is biased. No one. Literally, no one unless it's someone like Hannity or Hugh Hewitt. My concern is he's gotten inside their heads with his antics and they'll find someone who is a known softballer or someone who actually is biased in favor of Trump. More likely they will create a situation where the moderator is given a brief which makes them fall over themselves to prove they are not biased against Trump."

"Perhaps we'll find out that they're just doing an extra level of vetting to make sure the people they pick didn't say something mean about Trump six months ago or something - though frankly, how many sentient people haven't made some critical comment about Trump in the last year?"

"We'll have to see what happens. But the unique solicitousness and effort to avoid predictable and disingenuous criticism is a bad, bad sign."

So only people who have never criticized Trump can moderate? Imagine if this rule applied to Hillary. There'd literally be no one in all mainstream journalism.

Jay Rosen puts Jake Tapper's chances at moderating the debates at 90%.

Here a libertarian wants Gary Johnson in the debate:

"A month from now, the Commission on Presidential Debates will let us know which candidates get a golden ticket to that national forum."

"Will America get to hear from anyone besides Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the twomost distrusted and reviled candidates in modern political history?"

"Two recent news reports stoked hopes that we might: Earlier this month, CNBC reported that the Commission “might consider giving an inch to a third-party candidate” like Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson. “It’s happening: The presidential debate commission is planning for three-way debates,” gushed.

Again, they are equally reviled. Except their not. Trump is 18 points behind Hillary pace RCP.

Anyway, Gary Johnson is not going to be our next President. Putting him in just makes him a spoiler. And in a three way, there's a case this helps Trump as a two person debate is clearly not his format, especially with a knowledgeable woman like Hilary.

I'm not ruling out him calling her the 'c-word' on stage.

Thankfully maybe the commission is not going to give us Gary Johnson in the debate.

Don’t get too excited, libertarian friends: It's probably not happening—the fix is still in."

Thank goodness. I love when the fix is in.

"Current CPD co-chair Mike McCurry downplays the significance of the “third-podium” story in the Politico article itself: “Some of our production people may have said, ‘Just in case, you need to plan out what that might look like.’” When the Pentagon war-games worst-case scenarios against hypothetical adversaries like North Korea—or zombies—that doesn’t mean it’s about to happen."

It seems that those Bernie or Busters who are still not voting for Hillary are going for Gary Johnson more than Jill Stein whose numbers lately have been quite abysmal.

But that they support GJ just shows their supposed liberal principles were so much baby breath.

GJ didn't even know who Harriet Tubman is and wants to block grant Medicare. Yet they're down with that? Proves it's not issues that separate them from Hilary but something aesthetic in nature.

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