At this week’s Republican presidential debate, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio said what lots of Republicans have been thinking for years.
That is that the entire system of presidential debates is rigged heavily in favor of the Democrats by the simple fact that the “moderators” of presidential debates whether in the primary or general elections are Democrats and oftentimes of the extremely liberal variety.
At Wednesday night’s debate, Exhibit A of this fact was the questioning by “moderator” John Harwood of the New York Times. Harwood’s questions were so blatantly nasty and partisan that Chris Christie called him out on it saying, “Even in New Jersey what you’re doing is called rude.”
In the best summation of what transpired at the Boulder debate, Cruz pointedly noted that “[t]he questions asked in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media.” He then bolstered his argument saying, “This is not a cage match. And you look at the questions—Donald Trump—are you a comic book villain? Ben Carson, can you do math? John Kasich, will you insult two people over here? Marco Rubio, why don’t you resign? Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen? How about talking about the substantive issues?”
Like Cruz, Rubio also summed up the situation well noting that “[t]he Democrats have the ultimate super-PAC: It’s called the mainstream media.”
Democrats constantly rail against the Supreme Court Citizen’s United decision as the vehicle that could bring down our democracy. After Wednesday’s debate, Republicans likely will loudly make the same case against a media that is so heavily tilted to the left that the operating costs of most cable news networks should be included on Democrat campaign balance sheets.
Republicans are now openly discussing ways to combat this bias. One suggestion is to hold a Republican debate moderated by conservative commentators like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin.
Here’s another idea.
How about having a Democrat primary debate with those three gentlemen as the moderators? Imagine the questions to Hillary Clinton about Benghazi or Bernie Sanders about his economic ideas. For the latter, these moderators could just pick up on the line of questioning offered to Ben Carson on Wednesday night. Can Senator Sanders do math? (Note—he probably can—he’s just not willing to be the bearer of the bad news that everyone’s taxes would need to go up to make his math work).
Some might say that this scenario wouldn’t solve anything. The old adage “turnabout is fair play” wouldn’t fix the fundamental unfairness at play here.
Then again, maybe it might.
If Democrats were forced to operate under the same sort of biased system Republicans have come to expect from the modern presidential debate format, they (and this includes their media wing) just might find a reason to finally come to a mutually agreeable place with these debates that Republicans could find fair or at least tolerable after all.