By: Danielle Apfel
Tonight marks the beginning of the official start to the 2016 Presidential nomination process. Though the actual election will not take place until over a year from now, the candidates must be narrowed down, from the current 22, to two.
The 17 candidates running for the Republican nomination will begin their battle tonight. Fox is hosting the first GOP debate, tonight in Cleveland, Ohio. Based off of a compilation of five different national polls, the top 10 of the 17 candidates will participate in the important debate tonight. The remaining 7 will debate earlier in the day, at what has been dubbed the “kids table.”
Tonight’s debate is an important stepping-stone for the GOP hopefuls, for how well they do will determine their popularity as the race heats up. Not only will the candidates be required to give answers, but they will also have to deal with sharing the stage and the limelight. Avoiding answers or giving vague responses may work when giving an interview, but when in a debate with nine other participants, there is a lot more accountability involved.
With so many candidates already in the running, their performances tonight will be vital to their national standings. While onstage, the participants will do their absolute best to stand out amongst the large crowd of candidates; though what exactly they will say in order to do so remains to be seen.
The debate tonight, as well as the debates to come, serves a purpose in narrowing down the pool of candidates, and “weeding out” those with the least likelihood of winning the presidency. This should be a competition, where the “best fit” comes out on top. However, as Fox News is hosting tonight’s debate, will truly hard and controversial questions be asked? Or rather, will the hosts ask the questions that they already know the answers to?
It has become apparent over the last few elections that candidates must appear to lean towards the “extremes” of their particular party if they wish to attain initial party support. That would entail Republicans leaning towards to far-right, Tea Party members leaning towards the far-far-right, and Democrats leaning all the way on the other end of the spectrum, far-left. This, in theory, appeals to the select constituents, passionate enough about the elections, whom actually vote in primary elections. According to polls in The New York Times, only about 20% of the voting age population actually votes in primaries. Therefore, presenting bipartisan and polarized answers in debates such as tonight’s actually helps hopeful candidates. The catch – after the primary process is over, the nominated candidates on both sides much reign in their answers, ideas, and values, and appear to be more moderate, so as to appeal to the masses for the national election.
The aftermath of tonight’s debate will inevitably highlight the more viable candidates, and hopefully narrow down the almost comical, 17-person pool. With debate season beginning once again, the race to the 2016 Presidential Election is quickly heating up, so – Let the games begin.