Denver, Colorado–Hugh Hewitt addressed the crowd at the annual RedState Gathering, where he listed a few things that he would like to see conservatives do in for future of elections, debates, and conventions.
One is that we end open primaries. Hewitt said that parties are vehicles that can bring about change in government and we should protect that. There's also the notion that shouldn’t imbrue the process of deciding presidential candidates by forcing states to hold primaries, which could allow non-party members to create mayhem.
Second, we should permanently locate the Republican National Convention in either Cleveland or Denver, both cities are in swing states, and both can be interchanged to be the convention spot in succeeding election cycles. Logistically, the 2016 Republican Convention was executed with perfection, according to Hewitt. The Democratic one was a total disaster. Yet, the Republican Conventions in Minnesota and Tampa Bay (where there was a hurricane) were also terrible. The 2004 convention in New York City may have been fine, though Hewitt asked what are Republicans doing having their nominating event in the heart of a progressive bastion. Logistically, Cleveland was executed perfectly, and that it shows the benefits of planning early and getting organized.
Third, speaking to that last point, Hewitt said that we should all repeat this: we did it in June. Moving forward having our convention early has its advantages in campaign finance and messaging for 2020.
Last, Hewitt touched upon the media, where he had nothing but praise for CNN’s professionalism, noting how he thought the moderators, Jake Tapper and Wolf Blitzer, were exceptionally fair. But we don’t need them to approve our demands or even have a debate. He even went further to say that we don’t need the Commission on Presidential Debates, comparing it to a dinosaur in this process. While he as affinity for PBS’ Jim Lehrer, is he (and Gwen Ifill) the only one that can moderate a presidential debate, asked Hewitt. Why can’t the host of talent from Salem Media Group moderate a debate? Why can’t Katie Pavlich, Ed Morrissey, or Guy Benson do it? Why not Larry O’Connor, Stephen Hayes, Erick Erickson, Mary Katherine Ham, or the multitude of people we read daily moderate such an event?
He said that this cycle was a transition year. The networks don’t run the conventions or the debates—and they found out what happens when you have conservatives in the room the debate ratings for the networks were astronomical, with only one debate (CNBC) being a complete and total disaster. Another thing he added as to why this makes sense. The media is, of course, has a heavy liberal bent. Why are we allowing these mainstream media figures that are throwing questions to our candidates who care little about what the other side cares about? If you want to nominate a conservative or a Republican, we shouldn’t allow the mainstream media quarterback these media events, let conservatives run the debates.