On that money front, what I think has been missing is how money influences big networks’ coverage and attention in both the Democratic and Republican primary races. Networks want a horse race in both parties because they just like it and it sells advertising. Who is going to put up big dollars for debates that are not going to be exciting and hopefully controversial? Helping properly educate the public is too often lost to what will increase viewership and bring in the money.
Look at the Republican field of 15 or so and the considerable variance in coverage. Early on Donald Trump, with no public service experience and, for mortal candidates, major flaws, received huge free publicity because he was being so outrageous. Governor Kasich of Ohio, strong resume at both the National and State level, a true conservative but pragmatic in taking the Medicaid dollars, apparently doesn’t have the flair necessary to sell ads, for his coverage has been minimal. On the Democratic side, it appeared they needed Vice President Biden to get in the race to accelerate excitement, delaying obvious issues that they would bring up just as soon as he announced.
There are candidates who are getting nowhere and their dropping out would be a significant public service. But narrowing attention and in-depth coverage to too narrow a field is not in the country’s interest either. Today there are, in my opinion, three Democrats (have had two drop out in each party) and eight or nine Republicans that have earned the focus and attention and should go into 2016 with all of us learning more about them and their strategy to be a successful President. I also know that the networks have bottom line issues too, but surely there could be a little more balance as well as providing some information about how they would “do” the Presidency.