Erick Erickson, the RedState.com editor who The Atlantic called “the most powerful conservative in America,” has a brilliant idea. For his annual RedState Gathering in Atlanta, he issued strict instructions to GOP presidential candidates addressing the group.
I have asked each of the 2016 candidates to focus on one thing: If they become president, their reelection would be in 2020. I’d like them to present their 2020 vision for what the nation should look like after their first four years. We do not need Obama-bashing. We need to know what they would do differently and how they would shape the nation. They should be elected not on their ability to bash the opposition, but their ability to sell a vision for the future that resonates with the base and the nation as a whole.
It’s a great concept—and organizers of the general election debates should steal it.
Force presidential candidates to dispense with their button-pushing talking points and face the challenges of 2020 and beyond. Put them on record with first- and second-term promises. Challenge them to think through and articulate the multiple stages of problem-solving. Make them publicly grapple with tensions between short-term gains and long-term needs. Encourage them to describe their theories on leadership and management.
Size them up—not just as athletes in a horse race, but as what they aim to be: President.
The Commission on Presidential Debates should set aside one matchup in which the candidates can’t attack each other. Instead, play by Erickson’s rules. “We do not, right now, need a 50-point plan,” he said of his August 6 through August 8 gathering. “We need to know what they see as the areas that need fixing and how their fixes will reshape the country.”
The commission needs a fresh idea or two. Overseeing general-election debates since 1988, the panel of 17 respected public figures chaired by Republican Frank Fahrenkopf and Democrat Mike McCurry is accused of sidelining independent candidates.
Nonmajor-party candidates must receive 15 percent support in five separate polls conducted shortly before the debates to earn a spot onstage, under CPD rules. A new national campaign, Change the Rule, wants to lower the standard, opening debates to a candidate who gets on the ballot in states with a total of 270 electoral votes.
If more than one candidate hits that target, Change the Rule would give the nod to the person who amasses the most signatures as part of the ballot-access process. The bipartisan group of more than 40 current and former elected officials estimates a candidate would need at least 4 million signatures to hit the threshold.
The CPD rules are too restrictive. They perpetuate the major-party duopoly. The Change the Rule proposal is the starting point of a compromise that should open the debates to a candidate outside the Democratic and Republican parties, whose favorability ratings are now at record lows.
“Because the current rule affords independent candidates no change to get into the debates,” Change the Rule organizers wrote to the commission, “it dissuades men and women with extraordinary records of service in this country from running for president.”
And now, thanks to Erickson, we’ve got a new approach to the debates themselves: Force the candidates to shed their scripted attacks and address this nation’s uncertain future.
What We're Following See More »
President Trump this afternoon announced another round of sanctions on North Korea, calling the regime "a continuing threat." The executive order, which Trump relayed to Congress, bans any ship or plane that has visited North Korea from visiting the United States within 180 days. The order also authorizes sanctions on any financial institution doing business with North Korea, and permits the secretaries of State and the Treasury to sanction any person involved in trading with North Korea, operating a port there, or involved in a variety of industries there.
"Seated next to Ukrainian President Poroshenko on his final day of meetings at the United Nations, Trump did not say when he might go to Puerto Rico, but spoke solemnly about the destruction to an island he said had been 'absolutely obliterated.'”
In response to a reporter's question, President Trump said "he’ll be looking to impose further financial penalties on North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic tests. ... The U.N. has passed two resolutions recently aimed at squeezing the North Korean economy by cutting off oil, labor and exports to the nation." Meanwhile, the Guardian reports that South Korea's unification ministry is sending an $8m aid package aimed at infants and pregnant women in North Korea. The "humanitarian gesture [is] at odds with calls by Japan and the US for unwavering economic and diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang."
Hurricane Irma "could even be the knockout blow for a product — orange juice — that has been slipping in popularity among Americans, although the beverage still ranks as the country's favorite 'fruit'...Ninety percent of the state’s $1 billion annual harvest is eventually processed into OJ." Per the executive director of the state citrus grower's association, "It’s somewhere between significant and catastrophic."