Donald Trump And Ben Carson: Why Are They Threatening To Boycott Next GOP Debate?

Toni Matthews - Author

Oct. 16 2015, Updated 4:10 a.m. ET

GOP frontrunners Donald Trump and Ben Carson recently threatened to boycott the next debate. CNN reports that the two top Republican candidates said they would skip out on the next debate if certain demands weren’t meant. What sort of demands? Apparently, there’s some concern the next debate may be overly long, leading to exhaustion.

Donald Trump recently spoke out about the debate conditions via Twitter:

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Carson and Trump are demanding that the next debate, which will be on October 28 and hosted by CNBC, be limited to two hours. Also, Donald and Ben believe it would be fair if all participants were granted the ability to make opening and closing statements. As we saw in the recent Democratic debate, each candidate was given the chance to open and close during the live event with lengthy statements about who they are and what they represent. It appears that Donald Trump and Ben Carson want to assure they have similar opportunities.

This demand seems reasonable on the surface, but there are a few issues with what Trump and Carson are asking — and it could have significant implications for the next debate(s) if these demands are met.

First of all, the Democratic Party barely managed to gather five Democrats for a respectable CNN debate. Everyone had a chance to open, close, and be heard during the CNN debate primarily because there was time to get to every person. CNN could afford to hold a nearly two-hour debate because there were so few people involved.

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The GOP field is comparatively crowded; top contenders for the GOP nod presently include approximately a dozen candidates. With so many vying for attention, limiting the debate to two hours (including commercials) would mean that, after opening and closing statements, there might not be much time to get everyone’s opinions on key issues.

Huffington Post notes that CNBC, which received a letter addressing the demands, has yet to come to a final decision. This contradicts CNN (or at least their information), which claims that Donald Trump stated his demands were met.

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Given that Ben Carson and Donald Trump represent the leading Republican candidates, it also means the pair have the power to affect the network’s ratings. Allowing them to sit out the GOP debate might prove disastrous on that front.

On the other hand, what if CNBC were to call Trump and Carson’s bluff on the matter? It’s possible the duo might give in reluctantly. It’s just as possible the pair would boycott as planned. While this may seem like terrible news for CNBC, it would be outstanding news for their primary rivals. Often, their controversial statements have dominated recent news. Without Ben or Donald present, it would be possible to let their Republican rivals be heard.

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This could also have huge implications for the Republican polls. With soundbites about gun control, immigration, etc. having huge impacts on polling numbers, this would represent a missed opportunity by Trump or Carson to solidify the distance between themselves and rival GOP candidates. At the same time, it would provide the GOP field a chance to play “catch up,” with no interruption by either Donald Trump or Ben Carson.

Should CNBC ultimately cave-in to the demands over a boycott threat, it’s possible the network may limit the number of participants at the last-minute in a bid to cover the issues. Answer times may also be severely limited.

Do you think CNBC should go ahead and limit the debate to two hours as demanded by Donald Trump and Ben Carson? Are these candidates behaving like “divas” about the entire thing? Please share your thoughts on this recent development below!

[Image Credit: Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]


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