It’s getting to be that time again.
Next month, the first of many Republican debates will take place in Cleveland. This first debate (to be produced by FOX News) will only allow the top 10 declared GOP candidates (according to the preference polls) on the stage. The rest..well..better luck next time. There are projected to be 16 total Republicans vying for the nomination.
Is it really fair to exclude some of the contenders though?
That’s when a couple of co-workers (thanks Lucy and Tonya) and I got to thinking.
In 2012..there were 20 total GOP primary debates. 20!
We can get that down to 15 with one simple word. BRACKETS! Hear me out.
The contests would be one-on-one debates — winner moves on..loser goes home. Panels of undecided voters would use audience reaction meters to choose a winner.
For simplicity’s sake I’ll use the latest FOX News poll as of this writing to seed the contenders. For candidates that are tied, they’ll be ranked according to the order they entered the race. For those that haven’t announced (that aren’t already in the top 10) they’ll be ranked for when they plan to get into the race.
That being said..here’s how the Republican Debate Bracket would set up:
(1) Jeb Bush vs (16) Lindsay Graham
(8) Carly Fiorina vs (9) Ted Cruz
(5) Scott Walker vs (12) Bobby Jindal
(4) Rand Paul vs (13) Chris Christie
(6) Marco Rubio vs (11) Rick Perry
(3) Ben Carson vs (14) John Kasich
(7) Mike Huckabee vs (10) Rick Santorum
(2) Donald Trump vs (15) George Pataki
In a perfect world..a new poll would come out after each round…and the remaining candidates would be re-seeded. In this format, no one candidate would compete in more than four debates. Trust me..the repetition can get boring.
Some thoughts on a few of the matchups:
Walker vs. Jindal: A battle of sitting governors who believe they are ready for the next level of chief executive-ness.
Paul vs. Christie: The snarkiness on both sides would be quite entertaining.
Trump vs. Pataki: The New York factor alone would make this worth watching.
Look..I know this would never happen — but it’s a fun scenario to think about. I’d be interested in your thoughts — tongue-in-cheek or otherwise.