Trump and Kasich bail on Fox debate. Sanders should take their place.

Earlier today, Fox News announced that it had canceled its upcoming debate. Donald Trump had backed out, saying that he’s tired of answering the same questions over and over again (can’t blame him). John Kasich then followed suit, saying that he would only show up for the debate if Trump was also there.

This being the case, Fox’s hand was more or less forced. I mean, what were they going to do? Let Ted Cruz take questions for two hours next to two empty podiums? Of course not.

However, this doesn’t mean the time slot has to go to waste. Instead, Fox should invite Bernie Sanders to debate Cruz one on one. Here’s why:

For starters, Fox clearly doesn’t think this idea is totally nuts. They were in the process of organizing a Sanders vs. Trump debate earlier this cycle before Trump backed out (can’t imagine why), so they’ve proven that they’re open to hosting what would be the first ever debate between primary candidates from opposing parties.

Bernie Sanders speaking at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, via John Pemble / Flickr

Bernie Sanders in his “bring it on” pose, via John Pemble / Flickr

It’s hard to imagine either candidate saying no to such a debate, if Fox were to invite them. Cruz has not yet commented on the debate cancellation, but I can’t imagine he’s happy about it. This is a guy who lives for telling other people they’re wrong and he’s right. For his part, Sanders is at a point in his campaign where he needs all the attention he can get. His speech following last night’s primary contests was ignored by all three major cable networks.

Finally, and most importantly, a Cruz vs. Sanders debate would satisfy the most basic requirements for political cable in 2016: It would get ratings. True, neither Cruz nor Sanders are considered the frontrunners for their respective party nominations, but that’s okay in this instance. People would absolutely tune in to watch the most reactionary conservative in the race debate a democratic socialist. When it comes to actual policy positions held by presidential candidates, you won’t find a wider ideological gap than the one between Sanders and Cruz.

Politicos and journalists would naturally find this all very interesting, which is fine in and of itself, but the viewers at home would, too. I’d bet they’d find it more interesting than another round of Megyn Kelly explaining why the Republicans’ refusal to confirm one of the most qualified and non-controversial judges in the country to the Supreme Court is actually Obama’s fault.

Fox is currently getting mocked in the press for (again) folding in the face of a demand from Donald Trump. But it doesn’t have to be this way! If Ted Cruz’s Republican opponents are too scared to debate against him, then so be it. Shame them for their absence by replacing them with a 74 year-old democratic socialist.

And since it was my idea, give me a cut of the ad revenue when it’s over.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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