Billionaire and 2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump makes new headlines every day. But something he said that he wouldn’t do during the first Republican debate could reveal some major problems with the debate system.
Could the GOP ban Trump from its next debate?
The first Republican debate one week ago opened with a question specifically for Trump. Per Bret Baier:
“Who is unwilling tonight to pledge your support to the eventual nominee of the Republican Party and pledge not to run an independent campaign against that person? Raise your hand now if you won’t make that pledge tonight.”
Trump was the only candidate who said that he might run as an independent if he doesn’t get the GOP nomination. Not only is that a difficult path to take, but also an expensive one. Trump is probably the only candidate running who could afford to launch an independent campaign.
Because Trump said he would not rule out running as an independent candidate, the Republican National Committee (RNC) has now said it could ban Trump from the next debate if he won’t make that pledge.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has since directly requested all Republican candidates to pledge that they will not make a third-party run, according to ABC News. Those who do not pledge might not get an invite to future Republican candidate debates, and would likely be restricted from accessing party data on Republican voters.
If Trump is polling at twice the numbers of his closest challengers and as much as five times the numbers of seven of the top 10 candidates—which he is—then how could the RNC ban him from debates? Can that really be done?
The answer is yes. The RNC, just as the Democratic National Committee (DNC), is considered a private club. They make their own rules. The DNC isn’t holding a single debate until October—something that candidates like Martin O’Malley aren’t happy about. But there’s nothing they can really do.
And that is why a senior Trump campaign official has told ABC News that it is possible that Trump may make that pledge. Though Trump has clarified that statement, saying, “It’s absolutely possible that at some point I would change that,” but, he added, such a change “is not imminent.”
“If I’m the nominee, I pledge that I will not run as an independent,” he said.
What you need to know is that the RNC claims it has every right to prevent Trump or anyone else from debating because it is a private club. But—Reality Check—in actuality they are not.
In fact, American taxpayers spent $400 million administering Republican and Democratic primaries in 2012.
That is one of the major problems with the way the party conducts business. On average, only about 9 percent of the voting population vote in national primaries. But 100 percent of taxpayers are on the hook for these so-called private events.
That’s Reality Check. Let’s talk about this tonight on Twitter. Reach me @BenSwann_