Trail Mix: GOP addresses new rules for the 2024 debate phase

Photo illustration by Luis G. Rendon/Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Reuters

Welcome to Trail Mix, a fun yet nutritious snack for your campaign diet. Do you see anything interesting along the way? Email me at

This week we get an update on the planning behind the Republican National Committee’s new rules for televised debates in 2024.

GOP looks at new rules for the 2024 debate phase:

Back in December, I wrote about the RNC’s efforts to avoid an overly crowded debate stage and a repeat of the so-called JV debates of 2016 — the embarrassing spectacle that saw the Candidates with the lowest poll ratings were relegated to an earlier slot – along with Mike Huckabee’s Push to Get rid of moderators altogether.

Since then, the dust has settled a bit, and Huckabee’s Hunger Games approach is off the table, but some of the same Trump-related headaches remain.

It’s a delicate dance between the parties and the TV stations.

In one of the few areas of American life where both institutions hold as much power as ever, organizing televised debates requires months — often years — of advance planning.

According to an RNC source familiar with the February meeting, after the Florida governor did so, NBC executives sent a small delegation to RNC headquarters in DC to address any concerns. Ron DeSantis’ blast last month over comments from Andrea Mitchellthe network’s chief correspondent in Washington and chief foreign affairs correspondent.

Mitchell has since issued an “addendum” to what she called an “inaccurate” issue “summarizing Gov. DeSantis’ position on teaching slavery in schools.” Governor DeSantis is not opposed to teaching the fact of slavery in schools.”

Aside from the DeSantis-Mitchell drama — that’s what the governor’s press team has sworn boycott the whole peacock about it – the RNC and broadcasters have kissed and reconciled as they always would, with a timeline for the debates to start sometime in August – the first to be held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Who gets to be on stage is a whole different story.

With an official announcement in about a month, a source involved in the planning told The Daily Beast that the qualifying metrics will be a combination of surveys and an individual donor threshold. Hard numbers have yet to be determined, but the goal of the RNC Standing Committee on Presidential Primary Debates is to raise donor and election thresholds as the primary moves beyond early-voting states.

“Quite similar to last time, but we’re making sure the poll is conducted by a smaller list of pollsters or they’ll have to agree to poll likely Republican voters,” the RNC source added. “It won’t be as easy as last time.”

Of the two criteria, the RNC hopes that the individual donor threshold is more achievable for the 2023 and early 2024 debates.

“Donors will be the easiest threshold to reach for people to have a chance,” the RNC member said.

Gone are concerns of a crowded stage as the field was late in developing.

Instead, concern has turned the other way, with some Republican activists wondering if anyone other than Trump or DeSantis will be able to pull it off.

“I think the most striking thing is that Trump is a candidate just like everyone else,” said one veteran GOP strategist. “He needs to get the same treatment. No dedicated green room, no arrival logistics and so on.”

This concern is shared within the RNC planning committee.

“We don’t want it to be just Trump and DeSantis or anything like that at the beginning,” the RNC member said. “We will narrow it down over time.”

From Harry Crane’s Desk (Ad Buys):

The biggest ad buy of the cycle so far came from pro-Biden PAC American Bridge 21st Century, according to this week Bloomberg and the AdImpact tracker.

Which markets did you choose so early?

Some of these come as no surprise: Greensboro, North Carolina; Flintstone, Michigan; Erie, Pennsylvania; and Green Bay, Wisconsin.

“We think it’s an important segment because traditionally many of the independent spending groups track the major media markets,” American Bridge spokeswoman Tiffiany Vaughn told Bloomberg. “And sometimes our message doesn’t get across to smaller communities, the rural bypass constituents, who can be overlooked.”

The ads are also specifically timed to coincide with weekends and the anniversary of the President’s COVID stimulus package, the American Rescue Plan.

polling station:

This is less of an evolving trend and more something to watch out for. Should Donald Trump face any indictments or legal troubles following the publication of this newsletter, it shouldn’t be long before the big pollsters on the ground are getting questions about how the nation feels about impeaching a former president.

The only group to watch for in a GOP primary context would be any shift in Trump’s approval rating among non-college-educated voters.

At latest Emerson College survey of the possible field in 2024, Trump had overwhelming support among this key component of the base at more than 70 percent.

Campaign illuminated:

New sheriff in town?

Right-wing arsonist and former Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke could be in the running for the next Wisconsin Senate race in 2024 Scoop from Deputy Politics Editor Sam Brodey.

Stranger at the door?

Trump’s team clears restaurants before his unannounced visits to ensure there’s a reliable pro-Trump squad of regulars, but owners never get any advance warning, pro WaPo‘s Isaac Arnsdorf, Josh Dawsey and Maeve Reston.

The GOP campaign path is already DeSantis verified

Ron DeSantis may run for President – we’ll see! — but Shy Ronnie’s team has struggled to create DeSantis-safe venues in early elementary states. And venues are trying to accommodate a candidate who doesn’t want to press on the meat. Read how clumsy DeSantis islike when he ate pudding with his fingers in front of the employees.

“A car door is not a person.”

In a full investigation into Marianne Williamson’s treatment of her staff during her 2020 campaign, Lauren Egan from Politico spoke to 12 former employees, who described them as prone to “frothing, spitting, uncontrollable anger,” including throwing their phone at helpers and slamming a car door until her hand swelled. Williamson denied the allegations, adding, “A car door is not a person” and it would “never physically harm a person.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Get the Daily Beast’s biggest news and scandals straight to your inbox. Join Now.

Stay connected and get unlimited access to the Daily Beast’s unmatched coverage. subscribe now

Source :

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *