Since everyone and their brother (I'm looking at you, Jeb) is running for the 2016 Republican nomination this year, there's a real problem with how to handle the debates.
Will they allow all of them to take the stage, some of them, or stagger them? It's hard to imagine any of us sitting through a debate with 20+ candidates including the likes of Donald Trump and Ben Carson on the same stage, after all.
According to Slate, the RNC is so flummoxed they're just going to hand it over to the "networks" to decide.
The situation has grown so fraught that the RNC has begun scrambling to publicly foist much of the responsibility for who get’s invited—and who doesn’t—onto the network that will televise each debate. “Ultimately, it’s the networks’ decision,” RNC spokesman Sean Spicer said over the weekend. “There’s an obligation for the party to make sure the standard is fair. But it’s not our decision.” Translation: If you don’t like what you see on stage, blame the media!
While it’s true that the networks are traditionally the ones to decide which candidates get an invite, no one expects the Republican Party to cede complete control over the guest list. The party simply has too much at stake. The debates will represent a rare chance to impose order on what promises to be a chaotic field, and the RNC can’t risk staying on the sidelines entirely.
Making matters more interesting still is the fact that party officials chose Fox News to host the first RNC-sanctioned debate, set for August 6 in Cleveland. While there’s nothing preventing CNN—which will host the second debate the following month—from inviting a candidate that Fox News excluded, anyone who doesn’t make it on stage in Cleveland is likely to lose ground to the bevy of candidates who do, making their case for standing on the CNN stage or the ones that follow that much weaker.
So it came to pass that the Fox News Primary is now a real thing. GOP voters will have to tolerate it. All hail Ailes, GOP Kingmaker. He's finally gotten what he wanted most.