Why are they doing this to us. Why are they having TWO debates on the same day, on the same network, making us listen to the same roll call of chattering doofuses spout two-minute versions of the same stump speech we've already heard from all of them for month? Why has the universe singled us out for history's greatest tragedyyyyyyy? Whatever, fine. I get it. I know why. It's because of "The System."
There are seventeen candidates running for president ("the most crowded in modern presidential history") on the Republican side. We need them to debate so we can figure out who is regular crazy, who is ultra-super crazy, and who is Donald Trump. But 17 people don't fit on one stage. Seventeen heads look crazy on one TV screen.
Fox's solution: hold two debates.
Because two debates can't happen at the same time, Fox is holding one debate at 2 p.m. PST and another at 6 p.m. PST. Fox used the candidates' poll positions to determine who would participate in the earlier debate (the losers, the longshots, the kids' table) and who would participate in the later (more "serious") debate. Candidates polling in the top 10 get the primetime slot.
The pollsters Fox used to help determine who got to be in the "top ten," however, are coming out against the news organization's cleromancy. The Marist Institute for Public Opinion said they stopped polling for the GOP primary so that Fox couldn't use their data. A representative from Monmouth said, "Based on current polling, there’s no good rationale for arbitrarily selecting a top ten.”
Anyhow. The pollsters might not believe in the utility of their own polls, but they're in. We now know who will sit at the kids' table for the 2 pm PST debates tomorrow and who will break bread with the racist uncles at the 6 pm PST debates.
I'm about to list so many names that, in case some of them don't ring a bell, I've provided links to people who've been written about here on Slog. Some of them, like George Pataki, Jim Gilmore, and John Kasich, we haven't written about, much less heard of. I know it's my job to care, but just couldn't. Maybe I'll care about them after tomorrow.
Anyway, here's the lineup for the 2 pm PST kids' table debates:
Here's the lineup for the primetime, adults' table debates at 6 pm PST: