Essentially, Marist didn’t sign up to be a criterion for determining who gets to be doing the GOP primary debates, and they they think that being used as such will simply mess up their system. Which is a definite point, as Marist is there to gauge public opinion, not shape it. And Marist is worried that exactly the latter will happen:
“We’re supposed to be measuring that which is occurring,” [Marist Director Lee] Miringoff told POLITICO last week. “By making the poll numbers determine eligibility to get into the debate, the polls are actually shaping candidate behavior. They are just trying to create a surge to get into the debate. That’s not just putting the cart before the horse. That’s putting the cart before the cart.”
Of course, stating the problem is easy. Fixing the problem is something else again. The great awkwardness about this is that the RNC and GOP cannot intervene in the debate system without appearing to be picking winners and losers… which is precisely what intervening would do, of course. And that would infuriate every partisan of every candidate designated as a loser.
All of this would be more personally exasperating for me if I didn’t expect the ferociously Darwinian nature of a political primary system to start the culling process this fall.
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