Democratic Primary Debates

Republican Primary Debates

The debates between candidates for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination began in August and are promising to be heated contests. On the Democratic side – with the firm understanding that early advantages are often deceptive in politics – many already feel that Hillary Clinton's place as the nominee is secure, but no such agreement exists for the GOP. There are many (indeed, a great many) potent contenders, each bringing their own strengths and vulnerabilities to the table, and the outcome is far from certain.

The first debate was held on August 6, 2015, and hosted and broadcast by Fox News. ABC and CBS are among other networks slated to sponsor future debates, both in 2015 and on into 2016. CNN and NBC were very nearly excluded this time around, due to a strong objection raised by the Republican National Committee over those stations' plans to produce and show two biopics on Hillary Clinton, which the Republicans argued amounted to free campaigning for the Democratic front-runner. When RNC Chairman Reince Priebus warned that CNN and NBC would not be allowed to host Republican debates if they went ahead with the productions, both networks agreed to cancel the projects.

Priebus is flexing his Chairman's muscle in other ways, as well. While the last presidential election cycle featured some 27 primary debates, the RNC has decreed that there will be only 12 in 2015-2016. This is in response to concerns that the frequent debates became too volatile last time, often leading to chaotic swings of support for candidates after each one and fostering greater levels of resentment, both between the contenders and their Republican supporters. Priebus has stated that he hopes fewer debates will also have the effect of allowing GOP hopefuls more time to connect with Republican voters. Additionally, he's expressed a desire to have “better” moderators both for the primary debates and in the general election campaign as well, as Republicans have expressed concerns that the journalists who served as moderators leading up to the last election were personally liberal and unkind to GOP candidates.

The fewer debates will be occurring between a large number of contenders, as well, raising logistical difficulties. The RNC is already planning to limit certain debates to the top 10 polling Republican hopefuls, while setting aside other events for those below them in support. Debates are generally blocked from becoming too large, as greater participation results in less air time for each individual candidate, weakening everyone's ability to get their message across.

It remains to be seen whether the differences between this set of debates and the last will be to the Republican Party's benefit. But heading into an election with an outgoing Democratic President, the GOP is keenly aware that they must be on the top of their game if they are to seize the opportunity before them. They must be careful to choose the strongest champion in their ranks for the general election, and these debates are essential to that process.

 2016 Republican Presidential Nominee

2016 Republican Presidential Nominee
Businessman, television personality and author
2016 Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump
A billionaire real estate tycoon, reality TV star and now, presumptive Republican presidential nominee for the 2016 presidential election, the larger-than-life Donald Trump is shaking American politics to its very core with his no-holds-barred approach to politics. The maverick is now on course to battle it out with the Democrat nominee this November for the keys to the White House.

Trump Vice-Presidential Running Mate

2016 Republican Vice-Presidential Nominee
Current Governor and former U.S. Representative from Indiana
Republican Vice-Presidential Nominee Mike Pence
The former college admission officer, political consultant, attorney, talk radio host and six-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and current Governor of Indiana, is the archetypal modern social conservative Republican. Gov. Pence is an unabashed social and fiscal conservative, and is arguably one of the most influential political figures in the conservative heartland.


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 Presidential Debate Schedule
September 26th, 2016   |   Hempstead, NY

October 4th, 2016   |   Farmville, VA

October 9th, 2016   |   St. Louis, MO

October 19th, 2016   |   Las Vegas, NV


 Republican Primary Debates
      August 6th, 2015   |   Cleveland, Ohio

      September 16th, 2015   |   Simi Valley, California

      October 28th, 2015   |   Boulder, Colorado

      November 10th, 2015   |   Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      December 15th, 2015   |   Las Vegas, Nevada

      January 14th, 2016   |   North Charleston, SC

      January 28th, 2016   |   Des Moines, Iowa

      February 6th, 2016   |   Manchester, NH

      February 13th, 2016   |   Greenville, South Carolina

      February 25th, 2016   |   Houston, Texas

      March 3rd, 2016   |   Detroit, Michigan

      March 10th, 2016   |   Miami, Florida

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