On Friday, the RNC voted to ban CNN and MSNBC from hosting Republican presidential primary debates in 2016. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus emphatically thinks that by hand-picking debate moderators he can prevent candidates from embarrassing themselves like Herman Cain and Rick Perry, or from answering questions the GOP doesn't want their candidates addressing. You know, the kinds of godless questions only liberal debate moderators would ask. The sound byte that has been played over and over again is from 2012, when Wolf Blitzer asked Ron Paul if he would "let [an ininsured] person die."
While many want to judge Priebus for the RNC's decision, it is actually the more liberal news outlets that are making a mistake by focusing too intensely on Hillary Clinton as the next Democratic Party nominee for president. Not a day goes by that a major news show on CNN or MSNBC fails to spend a portion of their programming on Hillary Clinton for president. Whether it's pure speculation, analysis of her latest speeches, or reporting on what meal was served at her recent lunch with President Obama, the media is making the mistake of assuming Hillary will be the next Democratic nominee for president. CNN and MSNBC are even planning their own miniseries and documentaries on her life to be aired before the election.
Many would argue that by spending three years marketing Hillary 2016, Clinton will have built such momentum that she will overwhelm anyone the GOP throws at her. But consider this.
Tough primaries better prepare a presidential candidate to take on his or her counterpart in the general election. If a candidate has overcome obstacles in the primary, the candidate is more ready to deal with the adversity and constant mental grind of the general campaign. By hand-picking the Democratic nominee three years early, media outlets are actually doing Hillary a disservice. They are stymying the competition that builds a great candidate from within the party.
The more competition, the better-prepared the ultimate nominee will be to take on their challenger. Encouraging exceptional candidates into the Democratic primary will spur more debate, and that is healthy. Competition forces the best to the top; a lack of competition produces a weak candidate, as we saw in 2012.
In 1960, Richard Nixon, Nelson Rockefeller, Barry Goldwater, Hubert Humphrey, Adlai Stevenson, Lyndon Johnson, and John F. Kennedy all ran for president. Each of these men would at some point be president, vice president, or a nominee for president. It's that kind of competition that produced the 1960 winner, John F. Kennedy, believed by many to be one of America's greatest leaders of the 20th century.
Besides, what if Hillary messes up? What if she makes a huge mistake, whether it's a stance on an issue, an inflammatory sound byte, or something in her personal life? The Democratic Party and swing voters won't be prepared to respond to another candidate if the last three years have been spent religiously covering one candidate while failing to include the many other good options. With politics, you just never know.
Media: we already know Hillary has a drive to be the first female president, and is planning on running in 2016. Don't ruin it for her and Democrats by dumbing down the race. Rather than lining up the former secretary of state, let competition decide the winner.