'You have nothing to offer': the GOP's Orwellian debate pledge whips up a frenzy on social media
The Republican National Committee announced on Thursday that it is withdrawing from the Commission on Presidential Debates and that presidential candidates must pledge to only participate in debates that are sanctioned by the party.
“Debates are an important part of the democratic process, and the RNC is committed to free and fair debates. The Commission on Presidential Debates is biased and has refused to enact simple and common-sense reforms to help ensure fair debates, including hosting debates before voting begins and selecting moderators who have never worked for candidates on the debate stage," RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel said in a press release.
"Today, the RNC voted to withdraw from the biased CPD, and we are going to find newer, better debate platforms to ensure that future nominees are not forced to go through the biased CPD in order to make their case to the American people," McDaniel added.
"The GOP is not walking away from debates. We are walking away from the Commission on Presidential Debates," the party tweeted later in the day. "It is biased and does not serve the interest of the American people."
According to The Wall Street Journal, "the RNC plans to form a working group to sanction debates based on input from presidential campaigns and criteria that may include timing, frequency, format, media outlet, candidate qualifications and the 'best interest of the Republican Party.'"
At face value, the RNC's move is a capitulation to former President Donald Trump's complaints that the debates he participated in with other GOP primary contenders in 2016 – as well as those with Democratic presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden – were unfair and rigged against him.
The bulk of Trump's ire was rooted in the moderators calling him out for outrageously false and provocative statements, such as when he directed the white nationalist Proud Boys to "stand back and stand by" during his one-on-one with now-President Biden in 2020.
The RNC's decision thusly adds credence to the possibility of Trump running for president again in 2024. If he does, the GOP is clearly attempting to manipulate its primary processes to favor Trump.
It also puts out an undeniable Orwellian vibe, which the Twitterverse noted in response to the Republican Party's edict
So you\u2019re saying you\u2019ll only play on your field with your equipment? Or will you participate in debates organized by another organization that is approved by both parties? We could use some information here.— Rebecca MeredithWriter \ud83d\udc0a (@Rebecca MeredithWriter \ud83d\udc0a) 1649965035
Translation: Only Fox News will host our debates and lob softball questions at our candidate.— Michelle Lamb (@Michelle Lamb) 1649963162
Very bad idea. This smacks of an attempt to prevent Republican voters adequate information to make informed voting decisions. It\u2019s as if you don\u2019t want fair and free elections. What else are you going to end?— Doc4K9 (@Doc4K9) 1649963843
https://twitter.com/saftyinnumbers/status/1514642581455622151?s=21&t=TN3EtDK0NpMBpsaAL_EAhg\u00a0\u2026— A-Aron, GOP Survivor, Sarcasm, Inc. (@A-Aron, GOP Survivor, Sarcasm, Inc.) 1649963688
Users pointed out as well that if the GOP had a winning message it would not have to seal itself off from outside thoughts and ideas.
Translation: \u201cwe don\u2019t want to be questioned on our platform, or past performance, because both are devastating to our chances of winning.\u201d— Shaun Arbella (@Shaun Arbella) 1649963100
What if, hypothetically, a candidate told a complete lie about a factual thing during a debate and was corrected by the moderator? \n\nGood for the American people or nah?— Dr Smokter (@Dr Smokter) 1649964492
When you have no platform, what would you possibly debate?— A-Aron, GOP Survivor, Sarcasm, Inc. (@A-Aron, GOP Survivor, Sarcasm, Inc.) 1649963406
\u201cThe GOP is not walking away from debates.\n\nWe\u2019re running full speed away from them.\u201d— Guy_at_the_Bar (@Guy_at_the_Bar) 1649964931
There would be nothing but crickets from the republicans— Not That Kind of Karin (@Not That Kind of Karin) 1649967120
You're literally FORBIDDING the party's nominee from appearing (of their own free will) on certain debate stages.\nIn what upside-down world does that make even a tiny bit of "free-speech-and-personal-responsibility" sense?pic.twitter.com/ZgrvYwB2Ye— Doremus Schafer (@Doremus Schafer) 1649966603
The GOP is walking away from debates because it doesn\u2019t want to debate.\n\nThe GOP doesn\u2019t want to debate because they typically lose debates.\n\nThe GOP typically loses debates because their candidates are weak and their agenda is phony— Karma Police (@Karma Police) 1649964783
That's because you have nothing to offer, other than Phasing out Social Security, Medicare, Veterans benefits. You sure the hell not getting a large voting block: the "gay vote" either!pic.twitter.com/f98qPa4bHF— Mean Mr. Mustard RIP Lady Cooper #IStandWithUkrain (@Mean Mr. Mustard RIP Lady Cooper #IStandWithUkrain) 1649965562
When you have no platform, no real policies, just no and just the policies you don't want to talk about, why would you debate?pic.twitter.com/Jw0ZUDzKOk— breadman - You should be covered in dog hair (@breadman - You should be covered in dog hair) 1649963470
\u201c\u2026and doesn\u2019t allow memes. Which is all we got.\u201dhttps://twitter.com/gop/status/1514680389364862982\u00a0\u2026— PoliticOhMyGawd (@PoliticOhMyGawd) 1649964118
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