By Jill Colvin and Zeke Miller | The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Republican National Committee said Thursday it is planning a rule change that would force presidential candidates to sign a pledge to vote for the party’s nomination, saying they would vote for the Commission on Presidential Debate. Will not participate in any debate sponsored by
If eventually enacted and implemented, it would fundamentally change the way presidential elections have been conducted in the country for decades. Former President Donald Trump spent years accusing the nonprofit of unfair treatment.
In a letter to the commission first reported by The New York Times and obtained by the Associated Press, RNC President Ronna McDaniel expressed frustration with its response to a long list of complaints, including about the selection of arbitrators. Concerns, previously included the desire to debate. Early voting begins and a push for change in the Commission’s board.
“The RNC shares our concerns with the CPD in good faith, has carefully documented why the party and its voters have lost faith in your organization, and we have proposed common-sense reforms that increase confidence in the debate process. Will restore,” she wrote. “Unfortunately, neither the tone nor the essence of your latest response inspires confidence that the CPD will meaningfully address the serious issues raised by the RNC.”
“Accordingly,” she wrote, “the RNC will begin the process of amending Republican Party rules at our upcoming winter meeting to prevent future Republican candidates from participating in CPD-sponsored debates.” The meeting will be held next month.
The commission said in a statement that it deals directly with candidates who qualify to participate in its debate.
“The CPD’s plan for 2024 will be based on fairness, neutrality, and a steadfast commitment to helping the American public learn about candidates and issues,” it said.
It is not clear what the debate will take place if the Republican nominee is to boycott. Television programs provide voters with the only opportunity to watch candidates side-by-side, and force them to weigh in on a variety of domestic and foreign policy topics.
RNC spokesman Danielle Alvarez said the party was looking for a potential alternative debate partner.
While the RNC has the ability to change many party rules between its quadrennial conventions, the final say on whether to participate in commission-sponsored debates will rest with the GOP’s final 2024 nominee. The nominee usually effectively controls the convention, which can easily supersede a rule devised by party insiders if the nominee believes it is in their best interest to participate in the debate.
The commission was established in 1987, “for the benefit of the American electorate, to ensure that general election debate between or among leading candidates for the offices of President and Vice President of the United States is a permanent part of the electoral process, The nonprofit writes on its website.
After the 2012 presidential cycle, the RNC took on a more formal role in the primary debate process, including sponsoring debates in partnership with selected media outlets. As a condition of participation, candidates for the nomination had to agree not to engage in any rejected debates.
After CNBC’s hosting of the October 2015 debate drew criticism of the candidates for poor management and “gotcha” questions designed to provoke conflict between the candidates, the RNC announced that it would allow NBC and its allies to move forward. prohibited from hosting the primary debates.
Prior to the 2020 presidential debate, the RNC and the Trump campaign worked to influence the selection of debate hosts, both publicly and behind the scenes. Still, Trump complained that the selected moderators again sided with him.