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Nathaniel Rakich: The social event of the season is coming up, and everyone is desperate to be invited. Yes, I’m talking about the first 2024 Republican presidential primary debate!

The Met Gala, it’s not. But the Republican presidential nominee is still leaning heavily back on the ticket. To get there, he’ll have to overcome a very tough bouncer: the Republican National Committee, which has announced list of strict criteria The candidates have to meet to get on that debate stage. Except that those criteria seem arbitrary. So, what does Republican debate criteria mean?

Interested in joining the other Republican candidates for the August 23 debate? First, you must be a constitutionally eligible, declared presidential candidate who has applied to the Federal Election Commission. This is the easy part. You will also need to reach 1 percent support in at least three national polls or two national polls and two polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina.

he seems to be driven by the rule What Democrat Necessary For their first debate in the 2020 primary: Three national or early-state polls from some pollsters that have at least 1 percent support for the candidate. But the RNC’s rules are arguably even stricter because it is very selective about which elections it will count. For example, the qualifying poll must survey at least 800 registered likely Republican voters. That’s a high bar! Most surveys don’t even interview 800 people – it’s too expensive. And there is also a requirement that surveys “do not overestimate the responses of any individual group beyond the margin of error of the poll.” Now, I write about elections for a living, and even I am Not sure what that means. So there is still room for interpretation as to which ballots will be counted.

But okay – let’s say you get hold of all three (or four) poles you need. Then you’ll need to meet the RNC’s fundraising requirement: at least 40,000 unique donors for your campaign, plus at least 200 unique donors in at least 20 states or territories. It’s also based on what the Democrats did four years ago, except they needed even more donors.

But even reaching 40,000 donors has proved difficult for some Republican campaigns. so they resorted to some pretty creative gimmicks To increase their numbers. For example, Doug Burgum, the governor of North Dakota, and Francis Suarez, the mayor of Miami, literally gave people money to donate. If someone gives just $1 to their campaigns, they’ll send them a $20 gift card, I’m guessing this is not what the RNC had in mind when it created this requirement!

Finally, the RNC requires debate participants to sign a loyalty pledge. This includes agreeing to share your data with the RNC, not participating in any non-RNC-sanctioned debates, and most controversially, endorsing the final Republican nominee in November 2024. That could be a deal-breaker for some candidates — such as former Representative Will Hurd, who strongly opposes former President Donald Trump and says he is unwilling to sign a pledge to support, But other anti-Trump candidates may not be so reluctant. Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has also been critical of Trump indicated that he might sign the pledge And if Trump is the nominee, ignore it. Which raises another question: Since the RNC really has no way to enforce the pledge after the fact, what do they do in that case? Just take the candidates at their word?

As I mentioned in my previous video, there are literally hundreds of republicans Running for the presidency. They can’t all stage – I’m pretty sure that would be a fire-code violation. So the RNC definitely needs to come up with some sort of rubric for who will make the cut. But it turns out that’s easier said than done. Some of these criteria have had unintended consequences, such as the donor one. Others may force the RNC to make inconvenient decisions such as voting or pledging criteria. Someone at the RNC is probably wishing right now that they had saved themselves the trouble and pulled names out of a hat.


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