Gilmore: ‘The Republican debate process is a fraud on the American people’

Jim Gilmore 1[Editor’s note: Republican debates number 2 and 3 excluded former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore. Since there were only four participants during the “early” debate on Wednesday, it was difficult to understand why Governor Gilmore had been omitted, and I wrote that at the time. After a dysfunctional “debate” that made a debacle of the event, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus notified NBC that the scheduled February GOP debate would not take place. This is Governor Gilmore’s response.]

By Jim Gilmore
Former Virginia Governor and candidate for President of the United States

Recently Reince Priebus, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, issued a statement denouncing CNBC for their conduct of the Denver GOP Presidential debate.

“CNBC should be ashamed of themselves. … the questioning by the CNBC moderators was extremely disappointing and did a disservice to their network, our candidates and you — the voters.”

This statement by Priebus is an outrageous and dishonest effort to divert responsibility for this nominating process fiasco from the very people who dreamed it up: Reince Priebus and the RNC. It was the RNC who delegated the nominating process to the mainstream media. It was the RNC who empowered the networks to decide who would be permitted to run for President and appear on their debate stages.

The result: an arbitrary criteria set by nameless, faceless people at the networks deciding who the American people hear and who is muzzled. The only people admitted to the public debates have to have a poll result in polls selected by the media, with no validity and long before anyone actually votes in a primary. The success in those polls is dictated by who gets in the debates. Those allowed in to the debates have the opportunity to raise their poll ratings. It’s a circular scam designed by the RNC to benefit their favorites. It’s backfired to some degree, benefiting some people with no political experience who have captured some of the anger that voters direct against the Republican establishment.

I am a casualty of this dishonest system. My anger has grown as I have campaigned in early primary states without visibility, while other candidates have been admitted to the debates, and given air time, who were polling not as well and often worse than me in many polls. In fact, who controls the polling, and how are the polls conducted? Much of the time the polling is by the same network organizations controlling the debates. Who gave the pollsters the power to decide who gets free network time to talk to the public? Ted Cruz and other candidates talk about their dislike of the media, but they are happy to have their privileges and special support by being on the stage and getting free exposure.

In modern American, informed largely by television and cable news shows, giving selected candidates face time is akin to campaign donations worth millions of dollars. Don’t tell me those appearances are news: They are not. They are promotions of candidates that the networks have anointed. Then the same candidates rise in the polls because they are afforded the opportunity to get their message on the air, at no cost. How can American voters exercise the vote, when they are denied information about the legitimate candidates running?

This whole process is about money, not about American democracy or about America’s future. The networks are looking for ratings to help them sell commercials and make money. Many commentators on the TV shows bemoan the fact that the race ignores the issues, but that’s baloney! They know exactly what sells commercials, and that’s exactly how they design their shows. It may be good business, but it’s not in the public interest.

The RNC also did this deal to make money. For, example, look at their recent solicitation online to contribute $5.00 to enter a lottery to get an all-expense paid trip to the GOP debate!

We ought to be finding out right now from network officials and the RNC leaders all of their communications that devised and implemented this fraudulent system on the American people. What was the financial deal between the networks and the RNC? Does any money change hands as a result of this ridiculous deal?

But the RNC is driven by more than just money. The RNC is rigging the system to narrow the field. I have been told this in more than one meeting with RNC officials. The goal was always to clear the field for their preferred candidate or candidates, but they didn’t figure on Donald Trump. One thing we know for certain: This is not the proper role of the RNC. If I am elected President, I will work tirelessly to change the leadership of the Republican Party back to its proper role, which is not to manipulate the nomination process.

I pledge that if I am elected President I will clean up this mess and return the democratic process back to the American people. I will reform the Federal Communications Commission to stop the practice of turning a blind eye to TV networks who pick the winners and losers. I will use every power available to a President to lead the Congress to a reform that is essential if the public is to regain confidence that the system is not rigged. Because today the system IS rigged. My own party rigged it. The networks rigged it. And the Congress and the FCC rigged it. If I’m elected President, I’ll will come down hard on this kind of deceitful, money grabbing, election rigging behavior by the Republican establishment and the American television networks.

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