Republican Party threatens to boycott US presidential debates
The US Republican Party has threatened to boycott the country’s future presidential debates unless the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) that organizes them changes its rules.
In a letter on Thursday to the non-profit commission known as the CPD, which has run presidential debates since 1988, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said the party was contemplating amending its rules to ensure its candidates do not take part in the debates due to concerns about "whether the CPD credibly can provide a fair and impartial forum for presidential debates."
McDaniel accused the commission of “stonewalling the meaningful reforms necessary to restore its credibility with the Republican Party as a fair and nonpartisan actor.”
She went on to say that the party would try to help future Republican presidential nominees to attend debates that are organized more fairly.
It is not clear, however, what format those debates would take or whether they would happen as often as in recent decades.
“The RNC will take every step to ensure that future Republican presidential nominees are given that opportunity (to debate) elsewhere,” she said.
“Accordingly, the RNC will initiate the process of amending the Rules of the Republican Party at our upcoming Winter Meeting to prohibit future Republican nominees from participating in CPD-sponsored debates.”
Before the debate commission was founded in 1987, political parties or campaigns had negotiated directly on the terms of debates.
The looming split comes as US political divisions have grown deeper and the possibility of fewer debates means that Americans would have less access to unfiltered information about their aspiring leaders.