Since 1980, the Republican Party has been organizing debates. And the debates are usually between presidential candidates of the Republican Party.
All the candidates vying for the post of the president under the Republican Party have the privilege of participating in the party’s debate. Most candidates also take such debate seriously, given the impact it can have on their chances of winning the party’s primary elections.
Republican debates have specific dates and time. Here is what you need to know about this debate.
When Does the Republican Debate Start?
The Republican debate may likely start in spring or summer, as the date and time is subject to change. By the way, the Commission on Presidential Debates in the United States of America isn’t in charge of the Republican Party debate.
Since it’s an internal affair among the various party candidates, the mass media outlet organizes such debates.
The party leadership will communicate the date and time of the presidential debate. But one thing we’re sure of is that the debates always take place before the party primaries.
The essence of the presidential debate is to give party members an equal opportunity to impress party delegates, as the primary election is equally as important as the main election.
Do Republican Presidential Candidates Seeking Re-Election Participate In Party Debates?
Having a sitting president is almost an assurance that the party’s candidate will win the second term bid. But this isn’t always the case out there. An incumbent can lose his or her re-election bid, just like we saw in the election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
Now, let’s go back to the question. Yes, an incumbent can participate in the party’s debate before the primary election. But most times, the incumbents don’t participate in part debate.
In 2020, Donald Trump was the incumbent, and he was seeking re-election. Fortunately, the Republican National Committee didn’t schedule any debate at the party level because of Trump. But this didn’t prevent the debate from taking place.
There was a debate for the Republican candidates in 2020, though it was organized by the mass media not the Republican Party. Donald Trump also didn’t attend any of the debates, and was the party’s flag bearer.
So, yes, a candidate that’s seeking re-election can attend a debate, though debates are not compulsory. An incumbent seeking re-election may also decide not to partake in the debate at the party and even the national level.
Is The United States Presidential Debate Compulsory?
No, presidential debates aren’t compulsory in the United States. Debates are not constitutional.
Therefore, any candidate may decide to ditch a presidential debate without prior reason and be on the ballot on the day of the election.
However, presidential debates are important. They are considered as an intricate part of the electoral process.
Debates help candidates target a special category of voters called undecided voters. These voters haven’t decided on the candidate to support on the day of the election.
Presidential candidates can win a large amount of votes from debates. The undecided voters and even some of the electorates from other parties may decide to quit their parties to join a candidate. That’s what debates can do.
Americans are always looking forward to debates, as it gives them a closer look at each candidate to make the best choice for the country.
That said, debates are essential, but aren’t compulsory. The constitution didn’t make it mandatory for contestants too.
Why Is The United States Presidential Debate Important?
Debates are important in a true democratic setting where the election is free and fair. Debates don’t only capture a large number of undecided voters to a candidate, but do more.
Electorates who have initially decided on who they’ll be voting for prior to the debate might have a change of mind after the debate. They may start seeing some potential in another candidate during the debate.
Here are other benefits of presidential debates.
1: Debates help to inform electorates:
Debates are the only time you will ever find candidates in the same place, and same time, thus making it so easy to compare them.
The debates give electorates an opportunity to compare candidates and know which one is better prepared for the job. Candidates are made to answer various questions during debates, giving electorates opportunities to see how each presidential candidate will respond to peculiar problems in the land when elected.
2: Debates help candidates to prepare for their campaigns and govern when elected:
The 1996 Republican presidential candidate, Bob Dole stated that the presidential debate helped him to think ahead. This shows you the power of debates.
Debates help candidates to identify and focus on issues they may not have captured earlier, making their campaigns more effective, robust and engaging.
In addition to helping candidates identify issues they weren’t focusing on, debates help candidates to govern better when elected. This was the statement Bill Clinton made when elected. He actually claimed that the debate helped him to govern America and be a better president.
3: Debates help to lower political tension before, during and after an election:
Though the political tension may vary from one election to another, political tension usually accompanies elections. Every candidate wants to win and their supporters don’t want to miss an opportunity to get their candidates elected.
Debates help to bring candidates together and show the electorates that they can disagree on issues, and show mutual respect for each other.
When candidates demonstrate that they aren’t fighting but only contesting an election, the electorates will think and act the same way.
Debates also give candidates a chance to publicly show that they’re committed to having a peaceful election, and are ready to address the result via legal means, if necessary.
A candidate is a reflection of his or her supporters. If a candidate keeps sending signals for a peaceful election, the supporters will key into it. If reverse is the case, then violence is likely to proceed such an election.
You can see what happened in Donald Trump’s second-term election. Joe Biden won the election, but he wasn’t comfortable in the result claiming that electoral malpractice had occurred.
We all know how his supporters reacted following Donald Trump’s claim that the election wasn’t free and fair. His supporters wouldn’t have invaded the US capitol if Trump had not made such a claim about the election.
4: Debates help to promote accountability of elected candidates:
Candidates make statements during debates, which remains a public record and used to score an elected official’s performance in office.
The debates allow candidates to state their policy positions, including what they plan to achieve if elected. It allows candidates to openly state the policies they may abolish and the ones they may enact to achieve specific results.
So, how does debate make candidates accountable? All the promises candidates make during debate goes into public record. Media houses and civic groups can use the promises candidates make during their campaign and debates to hold them accountable.
5: Debates help to convince electorates that an election would be free and fair:
Debates create a healthy environment necessary for a peaceful election. It helps to show a healthy democracy, and that all the candidates have the same opportunity.
This act alone can make an election peaceful. It can also convince electorates to come out and cast their votes, and not feel like they’re wasting their precious time.
Why Did The Republican Party Withdraw From The U.S. Commission On Presidential Debates?
The Republican National Commission (RNC) has announced plans to withdraw from future presidential debates organized by the U.S. Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD).
The reason the RNC gave was that debates organized by the CPD were biased and that the commission has refused to implement reforms. The RNC voted unanimously to prevent future candidates from partaking in any debate organized by CPD in the future.
Millions of Americans are always looking forward to presidential debates, as it gives them a chance to decide the candidate to vote for. But the decision taken by the RNC means Americans won’t be watching presidential debates as they have been doing for years.
The CPD is actually an independent body, and it has been organizing political debates since 1987. However, even though the RNC claims CPD is biased, there’s no basis to make such a claim.
When does Republican debate state? The RNC may decide to organize debates anytime. It can be in the spring or summer.
The party considers its program and that of its candidates before setting a date for the debate. The Republican Party debate also takes place before the primary election.
Debates are important for presidential candidates. It can help candidates to capture a large percentage of the undecided voters. Debates can also turn the heads of voters who already have a candidate they’re supporting.
Unfortunately, we may only be seeing the presidential debate at the party level and not at the national level, as the RNC has made it abundantly clear.