Fox News’ “main event” debate, scheduled for Thursday next week, is limited to ten, which, frankly, is an artificial manipulation of the process, since the difference between candidates included and candidates excluded is within the margin of error of the polling. Fox News has so far refused to bend from limiting the main event to ten, but at least they announced that all the remaining candidates will be permitted into a second tier 5 p.m. televised debate, according to Politico.
Fox is currently stratifying the candidates into two tiers: the top 10, which get the prime time spot at 9 p.m.; and everyone else, who will appear on a separate debate stage at 5 p.m.:
According to a POLITICO analysis of the latest national polling, the prime-time participants today would be Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Rick Perry.
But, demonstrating how controversial any way of cutting off the polling will be, RealClearPolitics averages yield a different cut.
He who picks the polls to include picks the candidates to exclude. This is not going to be good for Fox News or for America. Ten is arbitrary. Let them all debate.
Nick Arnold is a researcher for American Principles in Action.