A rowing solution to the Republican dilemma

by Bernard McCormick Tuesday, July 28, 2015 No Comment(s)


Philadelphia—With so many people running for the Republican nomination for president of the United States, it is impossible if not hard to get them all together for a debate. A democracy deserves better, which is why we came to Philadelphia, the capital of American rowing, if not the whole world. This is the city of the famous Boathouse Row (pictured above), where 13 boat clubs sit side by side, very close to the stately Art Museum, which "Rocky" made famous by using its steps for aerobic activity. In season, the boathouses host crews from every major college in the Philadelphia area, and a few dozen high schools as well.

Years ago the sport of rowing solved the problem of too many boats in a race, and this solution applies nicely to the Republican dilemma. It is called a repechage, a French term for giving a loser a second chance. A number of sports use it, but it is most fitting in rowing because weather conditions, such as wind and current, sometimes affect one boat more than another. So in a race with 18 entries, where only six boats can fit in a body of water at one time, they have heats of six.

The winner moves on to the semi-final race, but the second boat, and sometimes the third, gets a chance in a second race. You get the idea. After the repechage, the winner makes it to the semi-finals and, with luck, might make it to the final race. Possibly even win—it has happened.

This concept is ideal for the large Republican field, most of which is made up of obvious losers. You can't have all the candidates in one debate. But it is not fair to leave somebody out just because polls say they are a loser among losers. We therefore propose at least three debates, with six candidates in each heat. After the polls show who has won, and who was close, those two would advance to the finals. In the likely event that wealthier candidates buy their own pollster, and the polls do not agree, simply take a poll to show which polls have the most credibility.

If, in the likely event that more Republicans declare, you simply declare additional heats, which would make semi-finals necessary, as it often is the case in rowing. That would provide great excitement for the fans, and tremendous commercial opportunities for a capitalist society. In this campaign, it is important that Donald Trump make the finals, no matter how he polls in his heat. The fix must be in. You can't let polls stand in front of ratings.

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