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August-to-March Madness: A GOP Debate Bracket Proposal

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The highly anticipated media event that is the Aug. 6 Republican presidential candidate debate has grown even more complicated. Fox News, the sponsor of the first of what could be as many as 12 party-sanctioned debates between now and March 10, has backed off its plans to limit the first debate to "only" the 10 top-polling candidates.

The solution won't make the Bottom Six very happy: They'll get their own debate, four hours before the prime-time event in Cleveland. Wise guys immediately called it "the kids' table" debate.

Fox and the GOP have a problem: You can't put 16 politicians on a stage and expect any sort of useful discourse. Even 10 will strain the available oxygen in the room.

So here's a modest proposal: Seed the field like the NCAA seeds its annual basketball championship fields each spring. The first weekend features four regional tournaments of 16 teams apiece.

The teams in each regional are seeded, 1 through 16, by a committee that compares their records and relative strengths. The top seed plays the bottom seed, the No. 2 seed plays the No. 15 seed and so on. No 16-seed has ever beaten a No. 1 seed, but there have been seven No. 2 seeds upset by No.

15 seeds. Ask the University of Missouri about Norfolk State in 2012.

The accompanying bracket seeds the 16 announced GOP candidates according to their showings in the latest RealClearPolitics.com "poll of polls." RCP took the findings of six polls and averaged them, leaving out only former New York Gov. George Pataki. In late-breaking news, former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore on Wednesday became the 17th GOP candidate to file papers for the election. He can be in a play-in game with Mr. Pataki, whom we seeded No. 16 and put up against Donald Trump, the frontrunner. The most intriguing matchup has 6-seed Ben Carson, a brain surgeon, taking on 11-seed Rick Perry, the former Texas governor.

We don't claim our Sweet 16 is fair, only that it's no worse than the Fox News' method, and likely to produce a better test of the candidates' knowledge and abilities than a Battle Royal. Also, think of the way the party could exploit this: Eight nights of excitement, then four more, then two nights of the Final Four and finally the showdown debate and the playing of "One Shining Moment." The party doesn't have to substitute this for the primary process, but why not? It takes the money out of the process. We like Jim Nantz and Megyn Kelly as hosts.

Office pools could be created. Vegas could set betting lines. This could be huge!

You're welcome, Republicans.

REPRINTED FROM THE ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM



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Walter Williams
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