• ACV Reports

Partisanship has killed the debate commission — time to abolish it entirely


Former GOP Sen. Bob Dole (Kan.) claimed on Twitter on Friday that none of the Republicans on the Commission on Presidential Debates support President Trump.

“The Commission on Presidential Debates is supposedly bipartisan w/ an equal number of Rs and Ds. I know all of the Republicans and most are friends of mine,” Dole tweeted, saying he was concerned that none of them supported Trump. “A biased Debate Commission is unfair.”

Dole’s tweet comes as the president and his allies have repeatedly accused the commission, which describes itself as nonpartisan, of trying to assist Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. The claims arise as the commission has sought to make several changes to the upcoming presidential debates.

Most recently, Trump said Thursday that the commission's decision to make the October 15 presidential debate a virtual event was a way to protect Biden. The decision was made amidst Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis.

Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien also ripped the decision Thursday, calling it a “pathetic” effort to “rush to Joe Biden’s defense.”

The Trump campaign previously made these claims when the commission was looking into changes to impose more order after Trump repeatedly interrupted Biden and moderator Chris Wallace at the first debate. They accused the commission of considering Biden in these adjustments.

Former Sen. Bob Dole (R-KS) called out some of his Republican friends on Twitter, saying they, as members of the Commission on Presidential Debates, have violated the nonpartisan nature of the group responsible for scheduling debates. (Photo: Marci Sheldon/Newsweek)

At the time, Stepien claimed that the commission cannot describe itself as nonpartisan because certain members of its leadership have contributed to Democrats or expressed criticism of Trump.

Senior Trump campaign aide Jason Miller had said making changes was “purely a move by the Biden camp and their allies in the CPD.”

ACV Reports has reached out to the Biden campaign for comment but at publishing had not received a response.

Supposed nonpartisan, or at least bipartisan, the current make up of the commission fails to uphold either standard.

Members of the commission's board of directors include former Sens. John Danforth (R-MO) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME). Other Supposedly GOP members of the commission are John Griffen of Allen and Company gunsmiths, Managing Director of Cove Hill Partners Yvonne Hao. Former FCC Commissioner Newton K. Minow and Richard Parsons, Senior Advisor to Providence Equity Partners.

All of the living former presidents serve as honorary co-chairs. The rest are former media types and past members of Congress who fall decidedly in the Leftist category.

For example, Charles Gibson, former anchor of ABC World News Tonight can only be described as a liberal. Jane Harman, former Democrat congresswoman from New York and current Managing Director of the Leftist Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and is rabidly Leftist, much like the president for whom the Center that employs her is name, was during his tenure.

Among the anti-Trump Republicans on the Commission are former Sen. John Danforth (R-MO) and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), both of whom opposed Trump in 2016: (Photo Montage: ACV Reports)

Danforth has called President “the most divisive president in our history” in a Washington Post op-ed in August of 2017, just seven months into the president’s first term. He went on to call on his fellow Republicans to disassociate ourselves from Trump" and tell voters that "he does not represent what it means to be a Republican."

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Snowe claimed Trump “is damaging the Republican brand.” She was among several Republican strategists, pollsters and politicians at the time who believed Donald Trump, with his “exclusionary politics, harsh oratory and fondness for personal insult,” has hurt the party’s image. Most of them continue to hold those views despite Trump’s success as President.

With a commission of that make up, impartiality is impossible to achieve. That was demonstrated this week when the commission unilaterally and with no consultation whatsoever with either campaign, canceled the October 15 debate base on bogus China virus concerns.

That decision came after President Trump said he would not participate in the proposed virtual debate given the opportunity for Biden’s campaign to prop him up with behind-the-scenes scripted answers or teleprompter responses.

These people who make critical decisions about the country’s presidential debates — events that impact how Americans will vote or if they vote at all — are, for the most part, Washington, D.C. and East Coast elites who are part of what Trump has dubbed The Swamp.

The clubby, swampy commission board has an effect on the quality of the presidential debates. As so many of the members are part of the elitist establishment of The Swamp, they are likely to pick moderators who fit a certain mold. Equally so, they are unlikely to push for a tougher debate structure.

Most of these people are the type who get invited to the White House and the Washington Inner Circle. Do you think they’re going to rock the boat? Not a chance.

The American people deserve a truer representation of their values who will accurately and impartially decide what issues are most important to them. The Commission on Presidential Debates has spent the so-called and shortened “debate season” propping up a mentally incapacitated Joe Biden, trying desperately to help his campaign make him look competent.

He is not, and a “nonpartisan” body that stoops to such sleazy tactics to make him appear so has lost its right to run such a critical part of the campaign to elect the leader of the free world.

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