In the 2012 U.S. Presidential campaign, there were a very large number of Republican primary debates. After the election was over, the Republican National Committee (RNC) concluded that that there were too many debates, and that this had a damaging effect on whoever emerges as the party nominee. So they decided that in 2016, the only Republican primary debates would be the ones sponsored by the RNC, rather than having candidates choose which debates they wanted to attend like last time, and there would be many fewer debates, about one debate per month starting this August.

My question is, how is this decision enforced? What stops a Republican candidate from attending a debate that is not sponsored by the RNC? And if nothing is stopping that from happening, are there any organizations or news outlets that are trying to host non-RNC-approved debates?

  • I believe it's enforced like any private gathering. Those that are invited may attend, and those that aren't invited may be blocked at the door.
    – user1530
    Jul 1, 2015 at 3:27
  • 2
    @DA I'm not talking about candidates attending RNC-sponsored debates without being invited. I'm talking about candidates attending debates which they're invited to but are not sponsored by the RNC. In 2012, candidates were able to attend debates that weren't sponsored by the RNC. But the RNC doesn't want them to do that this time. Jul 1, 2015 at 4:16
  • That may come down to a state-by-state issue. I believe each state party gets to decide who or who can not be on the ballot under their party affiliation. I suppose at the national level, they could declare than any republican wanting to debate without party permission would risk losing the party affiliation on the ballot in some (all?) states. Interesting question.
    – user1530
    Jul 1, 2015 at 4:23
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    @DA. I just found an article from last December on this: washingtontimes.com/news/2014/dec/7/… "As it stands, the RNC plans to penalize candidates that participate in unsanctioned events by leaving them out of sanctioned ones." I'm not sure how that would work, since for legal reasons the networks and not the RNC get to choose who are in the debates. I'm also not sure whether the RNC has finalized this rule since the time the article was published. Jul 1, 2015 at 4:38
  • I don't understand: can't the party just expel those who violate their own policy?
    – o0'.
    Jul 1, 2015 at 9:59


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