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2016

2016 GOP Debate: Who’s In?

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CANDIDATES BATTLE FOR THEIR SPOT ONSTAGE …

|| By FITSNEWS || “Republicans” will hold their first presidential debate of the 2016 primary election early next month.

The debate will be held on Thursday, August 6 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.  In addition to a crowd of up to 5,000 people, the proceedings will be televised nationally by Fox News.

So … who’s in?  And who’s out?

According to Fox, the debate will feature the top ten candidates based on an average of the five most recent national polls.  In fact the candidates’ position on the stage will be determined by their support in the polls – with candidates receiving higher levels of support occupying spots toward the center of the stage.

Fox isn’t disclosing which national polls it is using, though – which we’re guessing is going to cause all sorts of controversy.

As of July 27, here’s where ABC News has the field …

1. Donald Trump – 18 percent
2. Jeb Bush – 14 percent
3. Scott Walker – 11 percent
4. Marco Rubio – 6 percent
T5. Rand Paul – 6 percent
T5. Ted Cruz – 6 percent
7. Mike Huckabee – 6 percent
8. Ben Carson – 5 percent
9. Chris Christie – 3.0 percent
10. Rick Perry – 2.2 percent
11. John Kasich – 2.0 percent
12. Rick Santorum – 1.6 percent
13. Bobby Jindal – 1.4 percent
14. Carly Fiorina – 0.8 percent
15. George Pataki – 0.6 percent
16. Lindsey Graham – 0.2 percent

And yes … it does our hearts good to see our home-state fascist U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham coming in at dead last on this list.

Anyway, the three frontrunners in the race – billionaire Donald Trump, establishment favorite Jeb Bush and Wisconsin governor Scott Walker – are obviously “in.”  So are the five candidates we’re referring to collectively as the “second tier” – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, social conservative favorite Mike Huckabee and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

That leaves eight candidates vying for the final two spots – although Graham and former New York governor George Pataki appear unlikely to make up enough ground over the coming ten days to land a spot onstage.

Currently, the final two spots would go to New Jersey governor Chris Christie and former Texas governor Rick Perry, although four candidates – John Kasich, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal and Carly Fiorina – remain within striking distance.

Should we care who makes the cut?

Not really …

This debate boils down to Trump versus the “Republican” establishment – with the nine GOP candidates appearing on either side of “The Donald” facing quite the conundrum.

Do they follow Perry’s model and attack the outspoken, politically incorrect candidate?  Or do they recognize that Trump’s rise is being fueled by something bigger than the candidate – and pay deference to him in an effort not to alienate the GOP voters gravitating toward his candidacy?

It will be interesting to see …

One thing is certain: Trump’s bold pronouncements have sucked all the oxygen out of the tightly controlled debate the GOP was hoping to have – fundamentally transforming this race from an exchange of scripted talking points to a wide open, at times uncomfortable discussion of the root problems facing the United States.

In fact Trump’s presence at this debate – and the reactions he’s bound to get from the other candidates – make this one of the few political events we’re looking forward to watching.

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