Politico: New Debate Arrangement Will Hurt Cable, Underdog Candidates

Fewer debates, easier questions among the likely outcomes

The Republican National Committee is tightening its control over the debate process for the 2016 cycle, a move that will hurt insurgent candidates and non-traditional media, according to Politico

Citing a desire to find moderators who "aren't in the business of playing gotcha," RNC Chairman  Reince Priebus said his organization is going to get back to being the "custodian of the nomination process," something Priebus says the RNC got away from in the past two cycles.

As a result, the total number of debates could be almost half of the 20 GOP debates during the last Presidential cycle, a process Priebus thinks hurt eventual nominee Mitt Romney's chances in the general election.

The changes, as the article notes, appear to be widely accepted amongst the GOP's mainstream authorities:

The biggest surprise about the overhaul is how little resistance it met. The new regime will benefit top-tier candidates who don’t need the free media exposure, as well as broadcast networks that spend big money to produce debates and don’t want to put on more than a few of them. The losers are underdog candidates and cable channels, which draw bigger-than-usual audiences on debate nights. It will also mean fewer sponsorship opportunities for non-TV media properties.

The result, according to Politico, is fewer debates, and "friendlier questions," presumably, for the front runners.