Jeb Bush was up on stage. And John what’s-his-name from Ohio. (Is he still running?) But Rand Paul didn’t “qualify” to be at the grown up table. He got demoted to the kids’ table. That was the first time that the Senator didn’t make it to the main stage. And he refused to participate in the second tier debate, because in his words, he’s got a “first tier campaign.” By participating in the undercard debate, he’d be accepting his second tier status that the media have assigned to him. Accepting that status and participating in the second tier debate would be effectively telling America that’s it’s over for his campaign. After all, there are only a few weeks left. What could possibly happen to propel those in that tier to victory?
It was an interesting decision for Rand Paul’s campaign to boycott the second tier debate. We’ll see how that plays out.
Senator Paul said that the media’s rules for debate inclusion are “arbitrary and capricious.” There were other polls that would have qualified him for the debate, but Fox Business didn’t use those polls. They used those that had him polling below the top six. If Rand Paul had been consistently averaging in the top six, would Fox Business have decided that only those in the top five would qualify?
I don’t necessarily think they’re trying to censor Rand Paul. The way I look at it, media networks are businesses. Everything they decide is carefully calculated depending on the potential for increased ratings. At first, it was okay for there to be twelve people on the debate stage. But if it stays that way through the whole process, people will get bored. They won’t watch.
Imagine watching American Idol, and no one ever gets booted. Part of the thrill of the show is watching someone lose every week, until finally there are only two left. “Who’s it going to be next week?” That’s what keeps people watching.
The presidential race is unfortunately the same way. In the beginning, it was, “Who is going to announce that they’re running?” Now, what keeps people watching is seeing who’s going to drop out. Who’s going to get booted from the debate stage? Is it going to be my favorite candidate? Will I have to throw my support behind someone I don’t even like just so that I can be a good “team player” for the Republican Party?
That’s what I think is going on. It’s good for the media’s ratings to engage in picking and choosing. People want to see who’s “rising in the polls” and who’s the most “electable.” All that is dependent on the media. They define candidates’ electability and popularity. People actually think they choose the nominees. In reality, voters are lead by the media like sheep to the slaughter.