Fox News lowers bar for 5pm GOP debate, ensuring Graham, Fiorina, Pataki get in: http://t.co/v00sEuEWhi
— Michael Calderone (@mlcalderone) July 29, 2015
It would be ironic if the prime-time GOP debate turns into a cringey mudfest and the runner-up debate proves substantive and decorous.
— Nick Confessore (@nickconfessore) July 28, 2015
The carnival can’t go on forever (can it?) but while it lasts I’m gonna enjoy every pratfall and sad trombone. Gabriel Sherman, in NYMag, on “The Roger Ailes Primary“:
At the start of his career, not long after he helped Richard Nixon win the 1968 election, Roger Ailes boasted to a reporter that television would one day replace the political party as the most powerful force in American politics. If there is any doubt that the Fox News founder has largely made that prediction come true, it should be erased by the panic that next week’s Fox debate is stoking inside the GOP. In a year that features the largest primary field in modern history — not to mention Donald Trump as a front-runner — campaign strategists worry that Ailes’s debate, which is likely to attract the biggest audience in cable-news history, could define the race more than five months before the first votes are cast.
As everyone knows by now, Fox has said that only 10 of the 17 declared candidates will be allowed onstage for the prime-time debate… Contenders for each event will be selected on August 4 from an average of five national polls chosen by Fox. But which polls the network will use remains an open question and a source of controversy.
The candidates with the most on the line are Rick Perry and John Kasich. As things stand now, both are in contention to land the tenth and final prime-time spot, depending on which polls are averaged…
Perry now out of the debate after weeks branding himself as the anti-Trump candidate. I'm sure Trump will be too polite to mention this.
— Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) July 30, 2015
… For the campaigns that do make prime time, there’s another wild card: Trump. Fox told campaigns this week that the candidates will be lined up onstage according to their poll numbers, with the leader in the center and the others to his left and right. That means if current numbers hold, Trump will be in the center flanked by Jeb Bush and Scott Walker. “There’s a lot of nervousness about where he’s going to be placed and who will be next to him,” one adviser said. In any normal debate, candidates would obviously fight to be in the middle, but being center stage next to Trump could be as much of a liability as an advantage. Who knows what he might do? “It’s almost like you don’t want to be too close,” one campaign adviser says, “in case he self-combusts.”…
Like what, starting a 3 item list he can't finish? pic.twitter.com/BnHoBQJxPh
— Bob Schooley (@Rschooley) July 30, 2015
The NYTimes is visibly torn between its big-money hometown boosterism and its repugnance at the outer-borough guy’s antics — “Stakes for Donald Trump in First G.O.P. Debate (in a Word): Huge“:
The most pressing question that Donald J. Trump could face next week in the first debate of the 2016 presidential race may not be about Iran or immigration, but this: Can he deploy enough adjectives (“huge!”), superlatives (“the worst!”) and invectives (“loser!”) for him to use up his time without being challenged successfully on the substance of policy?…