GOP Has Huge Debate/Communication Problem | Media Training

All of the following Republicans may run for president, or at least want to act like they are running long enough to be allowed to go on national TV debates for the 2016 election cycle:

Rick Santorum

Lindsey Graham

Ted Cruz

Rand Paul

Rick Perry

Chris Christie

Jeb Bush

Bobby Jindall

Ben Carson

Carly Fiorina

Mike Huckabee

John Kasich

Marco Rubio

Donald Trump

Scott Walker

Rick Snyder

I understand what’s in it for them, the candidates, in running. But the big question is, what should the Republican Party do to enhance its brand the most and increase its chances of winning in 2016?

One thing is clear: Having a debate with 16 people on stage, even for three hours, means that each candidate is left with just a few scraps of sound bite time. This favors the candidates who are the best at making wildly inflammatory sound bites, i.e., Ben Carson, Donald Trump, and Carly Fiorina. It also means that any candidates who have actual experience governing, and might be seen as credible presidential material to voters, will get lost in the mix or seem small and irrelevant.

How could the GOP possibly want to set in motion such a self-destructive train wreck?

If I were head of the Republican party (and nobody has asked me to be), I would put out the following statement.

“Look folks, we’ve lost 5 out of the last 6 presidential elections in terms of popular vote. I’m sick of losing. It’s time we got back to basics and nominate candidates who fit the profile of a winner rather than chumps easily rolled by the democrats. In the last 90 years, the only republican candidates to get elected President had one of three jobs before assuming the Presidency. 1. General in a successful world war (Eisenhower). 2. Sitting or former vice-president (Calvin Coolidge, Richard Nixon, George W Bush) or 3. Governor of a state where citizens elected them, re-elected them and actually held them in high esteem at the time they began their presidential campaign. So if you don’t have one of those positions on your resume, stop wasting everybody’s time. And sorry Senators, that means you. Every senator we’ve nominated in last 90 years has been a disaster.”

If you impose this basic criteria, you whittle down the current crop of potential candidates from 16 all the way down to six candidates:

Jeb Bush

John Kasich

Rick Perry

Scott Walker

Rick Snyder

Mike Huckabee

(Bobby Jindall and Chris Christie are no longer liked by voters in their own home states)

Six is a manageable number for a TV debate. Whatever their faults may be, these six people have all governed and run successful campaigns. They know that running for office is about more than generating the most over-the-top sound bites.

“So that is why I as party chairman am imposing these rules. No debate can allow any candidate who doesn’t have one of those three mentioned items on his resume to appear. Any candidate who appears in a debate that allows non-credentialed candidates to appear will NOT have his delegates counted at the convention. Any state that allows a TV debate that breaks this rule will not be able to seat their delegates at the convention.”

What are the chances the GOP will take my advice? Zero percent.

What are the chances that the Democrats are happy about this? 100 percent.

TJ Walker trains political candidates how to communicate more effectively. His online course for political candidates can be found at

Become a media pro in 20 minutes

Free download for a limited time only [value of


Download E-Book

Get a Free personalized quote now