In what amounts to a bald-faced admission that a presidential debate requires both candidates have some public policy proposals to debate, the Republican Party announced today that it will withdraw from the Commission on Presidential Debates:
In 1987, the Commission on Presidential Debates was established jointly by the Democratic and Republican parties to ensure that debates between the leading candidates for the President of the United States were a permanent part of the electoral process.
Now, the Republican National Committee has voted unanimously to leave the CPD, ending more than three decades of bipartisan civic cooperation.
"The Commission on Presidential Debates is biased and has refused to enact simple and commonsense reforms to help ensure fair debates including hosting debates before voting begins and selecting moderators who have never worked for candidates on the debate stage," Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement.
McDaniel is correct, in that the Commission is biased in favor of accuracy. Or, to use Paul Krugman's marvelous phrasing, "facts have a well-known liberal bias." One of the RNC's complaints, you'll recall, was that the Commission unfairly fact-checked Mitt Romney in real time during his 2012 debate with President Obama, giving viewers at home the entirely correct impression Romney was lying.
Of course the RNC no longer see any need for a presidential debate, as they have nothing really to debate. They didn't even bother with a party platform in 2020, since they had by then become a cult of personality around the XPOTUS. The next election will be about the same, especially if the XPOTUS runs again.
The RNC also doesn't care that this move continues the erosion of trust the public have in institutions like the Commission, or for that matter, the election. "It has always been easier to destroy than to create," said Spock, and the RNC fancies themselves a Genesis Device.
Update: Paul Waldman lays the Republican strategy bare:
A dispute over debates may seem far removed from that nightmare, but it isn’t. It’s all part of the same strategy: to convince the Republican base that the entire process is rigged against them.
This is how Republicans have decided to wage the 2024 campaign, in every way and on every day. If our democracy can escape it intact, it will be a miracle.