GOP primary stage shows the 'party of diversity' as Democrats won't permit ideological differences: Conway

Trump, DeSantis, Scott, Ramaswamy, Haley and Christie have met RNC requirements for 1st debate -- as Biden ignores Kennedy, Williamson

The Republican presidential primary debate stage is shaping up to be one of true ideological and cultural diversity, while the Democratic Party won't even allow a single dissenter to challenge its designated candidate, pollster Kellyanne Conway told Fox News.

Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum on "The Story" Monday shared the list of candidates who currently have met the RNC's threshold to appear in the network's August 23 debate in Wisconsin.

They are: former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, Ohio-born entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. 

Conway, a Fox News contributor, noted there is still time for other candidates to make the stage, a feat requiring 40,000 unique campaign donors of at least $1 and meeting a 1% threshold in two qualifying national and two qualifying state polls. 


gop primary stage shows the party of diversity as democrats wont permit ideological differences conway

Former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. (Getty Images)

"I think the RNC did a great job putting the criteria forward because there are probably about 75 million active, engaged, registered Republican voters across the country. If you can't get 40,000 them to give you at least a dollar, maybe you shouldn't be on the stage," she said.

"And if you can't hit the 1% polling mark nationwide, I bet you're way above that right now. And so I think these criteria are fair. I'm really pleased seven have made it so far. There's still time for others to make it."

Conway noted how, in contrast, the Democratic Party appears to be uninterested in scheduling any debates, despite the presence of at least three declared candidates. 

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., scion of the most famous Democratic Party family of the 20th Century, has long been pressing President Biden to debate him; as has the third candidate, author Marianne Williamson. 


gop primary stage shows the party of diversity as democrats wont permit ideological differences conway

Joe Biden and Robert Francis Kennedy Jr. (Associated Press)

Conway noted how different the two fields are shaping up, saying one side has a "White, 52-year-in-Washington, octogenarian, cisgender guy who's every minute of 80 [years old]" – referring to Biden – "and they refuse to have debates."

"[W]e're the party of diversity. We have a former president, We have an Indian-American woman (Haley), Indian-American man (Ramaswamy) -- We have an African-American man (Scott)," she said.

"[Democrats] will not let RFK Jr and others on that stage to hold Joe Biden to account for his record. I'm very pleased that we are the pro-competition, pro-free market party and to be seen on that debate stage."

Conway also pointed to Trump's continued control of first place in the GOP field, noting that in South Carolina, he is still positioned well ahead of Palmetto State natives Scott and Haley.

While Trump has suggested at times he will not attend the debate, Conway said he is both "acting like a front-runner" in ignoring much of the field, but he also must take into account the fact a debate stage is a "natural habitat" for him.

"It helped him in that first Fox News debate on August 6, 2015, in Cleveland. Martha, he got center stage. He never lost. It became the nominee and indeed the president also," she said of Trump's memorable performance, which was accentuated by his widely-remembered jab at his 2000s celebrity foil, comedian Rosie O'Donnell.


Trump foe Chris Christie, also spoke to "The Story"  on Monday, saying it is no surprise his onetime friend continues to lead the field.

"That's to be predicted. I mean, he is the former incumbent president, so, of course, before anybody runs any kind of real campaign, that's where numbers are going to be," he said.

"And if they weren't there, all the stories would also be about Donald Trump not performing nearly as well as someone who's been elected president should do."

Christie argued everyone knows Trump, and therefore that means candidates must make a strong effort to allow the public to get to know them on the August debate stage.

Christie added that anyone who does not make the first debate stage should reconsider their participation in the presidential race.

Charles Creitz is a reporter for Fox News Digital. 

He joined Fox News in 2013 as a writer and production assistant. 

Charles covers media, politics and culture for Fox News Digital.

Charles is a Pennsylvania native and graduated from Temple University with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism. Story tips can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Authored by Charles Creitz via FoxNews July 24th 2023