2024 Presidential Debate Canceled?

Photo by René DeAnda on Unsplash

What Presidential debates in America will look like in the future is uncertain, as the Republican National Committee (RNC) announced Thursday that it had officially withdrawn from the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), which sponsors the presidential and vice presidential debates, and has for decades.

A statement by RNC Chair, Ronna McDaniel, noted that debates were “an important part of the democratic process,” explaining that the RNC is “committed to free and fair debate.”

However, explaining why the RNC was leaving the Commission, McDaniel said that Presidential Debates were biased and has refused to implement simple, common-sense reforms that would help ensure fair debates, including holding debates before voting begins and choosing moderators who have never worked for the candidates at the debate stage.

McDaniel said the RNC voted to withdraw from the Commission and is working to find new and better”debate platforms” to ensure that future candidates are not forced to go through a partisan CPD “to make their case to the American people.”

Since 1987, the CPD has sponsored every presidential debate, beginning with the 1988 election.

Before the 2020 Presidential election, former President Donald Trump frequently criticized the Commission, claiming it picked partisan moderates and helped then-candidate Joe Biden.

However, in its statement, the RNC listed several other complaints, including that the first Presidential debate had not occurred until dozens of states had already begun early voting in 2020, on addition to complaints about the previous employment of at least one moderator who previously worked for Biden.

When asked to comment on the RNC’s decision, a representative of the Democratic National Committee referenced a comment by Chairman Jaime Harrison in January regarding the RNC’s complaints about CPD and threats to withdraw.

At the time, Harrison suggested that “Republicans can’t win a fair fight, and they know it.”