Please, deliver us from stupid! Should hundreds of millions of dollars and a Faux News Network decide the GOP candidate? It will.

countdown clockThis is The Monday Line
by Denis G. Campbell

This week will see the first of the US Election (which still has – shoot me please – 462 days and 13 hours to go) candidates’ debates will be held by FOX News. Seventeen candidates have announced their intention to run for president in the Republican Party. Only ten will be invited on to the debate stage. The ‘losing seven’ forced to a pre-debate at 5 pm at the Kiddie Table.

The polls, which for 12 of the 17 fall within the margin of error, have never been more important and never so meaningless so early in the process. How can anyone accurately depict the poll standing of any candidate when more than half the field sits, with the margin of error, statistically at zero per cent? Essentially the campaign ends Thursday for those not onstage, smothered in its crib, by Roger Ailes and FOX News. What other ‘democratic’ nation state would allow something like this to occur?

And the debate (as well as the Republican nominating convention) will be held in the critically important swing state of Ohio. What’s humourous is that that state’s Governor, John Kasich recently declared his intention to run and is currently battling for the 10th and final spot on the podium. He is fighting it out with indicted former Texas Governor Rick Perry and could miss the cut in his own home state?

In 2012 so many debates with so many gaffes and disastrous pronouncements, that the RNC sought to limit the collateral damage of crazy by slapping strict limits on them. They reduced the number, instituted punitive penalties for those who did not follow the Party’s rules, moved the convention forward to July of 2016 instead of their traditional August or September date and are desperately trying to put a lid on their traditional RW Tea Party nut cases.

Then along came ‘The Donald.’

Suddenly all bets are off as The Donald has surged to a huge lead in the polls and is beloved by the GOP base for his ‘straight talk.’

The question remains, should a television network alone decide who appears on the debate stage and whose campaign ends this Thursday?

Rick Santorum went from 4% in the polls in 2012 to winning the Iowa Caucus on the strength of his debate performance. By eliminating Lindsey Graham, Carly Fiorina, Chris Christie, Rick Perry and others, what chance will they have to secure the nomination?

So instead of spending their money and time in the early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, they are all speaking at national gigs and trying to ‘out-stupid statement’ Donald Trump? It cannot be done.

Christie said he wanted to “punch the national teacher’s union in the face and Lindsey Graham drops the name of Brad Pitt everywhere in his campaign literature and speeches to get a ‘Pitt bounce?’

But aside from the crazy, the money thus far has been obscene and likely to only get worse. This will be the first election where the Citizen’s United decision will be exploded beyond belief. 2012 saw $7 billion dollars spent by both parties. At the current spend and burn rate, 2016 could see a 50% or more increase by private donors, all intent on buying the election for their candidate. And of course that person would be completely independent of lobbyists and other pressures.

Even my friend running for state legislature in Colorado requires $75,000 just to have a hope of making enough noise in his district to compete. He’s a good man and more like him should run, but how can anyone with an independent conscience run for office in the USA?

Please deliver us from the stupid this time around and have some serious debates on issues.

Only 462 more days and loads of stupid yet to come.

Denis G Campbell View more

Denis G Campbell
Denis G. Campbell is founder and editor of UK Progressive magazine and co-host of The Three Muckrakers podcast. He is the author of 7 books and provides Americas, EU and Middle Eastern commentary to the BBC, itv, Al Jazeera English, CNN, CRI, MSNBC and others. He is CEO of Monknash Media and a principal with B2E Consulting in London. You can follow him on Twitter @UKProgressive and on Facebook.

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