Forum: Could The Way Political Debates Are Held Be Improved?

Every week on Monday morning , the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s questionCould The Way Political Debates Are Held Be Improved?


The Right Planet : Everyone should be given equal
time. Period. It should be strictly enforced; even to the point of shutting their mic off, if need be (this should apply to the moderators, as well). Secondly, as far as the moderators are concerned, a more diverse cross-section that better represents the voters when selecting moderators seems like a good idea to me. Get a conservative, a centrist, a moderate, and a liberal, and so on. And no more talking over the candidates by the moderators. Ask the question, then shut up. Let them answer, then move on. Furthermore, there needs to be a more formal structure to the debate: as in some form of a rebuttal process. And when the candidate gives their rebuttal, let them finish their answer without interruption (within the prescribed period of time, of course).

My last suggestion for the selection of moderators would be this: debate moderators should fill out an application, pay a fee, undergo a thorough background check, and get a license in order to exercise their First Amendment rights.

JoshuaPundit : I’ve actually thought about this one for a long time. Who needs ‘moderators?’ Why have them?

What happened in 2012 and the CNBC fiasco last week should convince people that the existing format is not only dysfunctional but actually destructive to our politics, and it certainly isn’t going to change with any new criteria for choosing them.

Since the Left controls education, including the major journalism schools and that’s where most of these people come from, virtually none of the egotistical talking heads working at PBS or pretty much any of the major left-leaning media outlets thinks anything of rigging the game in favor of their preferred party. In fact, in a lot of these outlets their politics decides whether they get hired or not. Many of them, like George Stephanopoulos or Brian Steel, the CNBC executive in charge of running the recent debate actually worked  in the Clinton White House, and there are plenty of others with similar far-Left backgrounds. Why would anyone expect them to be ethical and fair, except the pinheads running the RNC?

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Rather than letting these people run the game, simply eliminate them. Convert the format to Lincoln-Douglas, with no moderator, just a timekeeper. Let the candidates draw lots or flip a coin to see who goes first,and let the first man have his time to speak on whatever issue he chooses, followed by back and forth extemporaneous responses just like Lincoln and Stephen Douglas did, with the time keeper strictly enforcing equal time.

Aside from the benefit of stopping partisan ‘moderators’ from influencing the proceedings, the audience would get to watch how these men and women think on their feet instead of the carefully rehearsed talking points we get now.

And while I’m at it, I’d seriously consider taking these debates off television. Let people listen to the ideas aspirants for office have, rather than being distracted by what kind of tie or hairstyle they’re wearing or whether they take a sip of water or not while they’re speaking.

Now, that would be a debate worth hearing.

Maggie’s Notebook: GOP Debates– After the 2012 debates, I expected the RNC to ‘get it.’ It’s disgraceful that this is happening once again. I like the idea of a “theme,” i.e. economics, foreign policy, immigration. I want to hear questions asked without an accusatory voice from the debate commentators. I don’t want to have a clue how the commentator personally feels about the question he/she asks. No “don’t you think you should have” type questions. The questions should stick to the “theme,” absolutely! With no exceptions.

I don’t care how long the debate is when substantive questions are asked. Every candidate should get equal time to answer direct, non-accusatory questions. If it takes three hours to do this, I’ll be watching.

Democrat Debates– All the rules should be the same for both parties. Substantive questions, without genuflecting to Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. No framing questions in an aura of a holy light. I don’t want to know a candidate’s favorite ice cream, or who he/she considers this country’s biggest enemy, unless that enemy is outside U.S. borders. As with the GOP, I don’t want to have a clue how the commentator personally feels about the question he/she asks.

Laura Rambeau Lee,Right Reason : Last week’s CNBC Republican debate started out as more of the same gotcha questions most of us have come to expect from a liberal-biased panel of moderators. The difference this time was the candidates turned the tables on the moderators and called them out on it. Perhaps this was what was needed as it seems to have struck a chord with even some of the traditionally left leaning media. They have become accustomed to mocking Republicans and playing to the low information voters for so long and getting away with it, but maybe the tide is turning. Maybe people are really paying attention to these debates who had not in previous election cycles. Perhaps the hope and change they were promised hasn’t been exactly what they envisioned and they are looking for answers after nearly eight years under the Obama Administration.

With so many candidates the current format doesn’t give any one candidate sufficient time for their positions to be heard. We should have fewer candidates debating at one time so they can have the opportunity to make their case to the American people. They should have more time for opening and closing remarks at the very least. Hopefully we will see a more traditional debate format in the future after the CNBC fiasco; where the moderators are not so obvious in their bias and with more questions of substance. The American people deserve better, but will only get it if they demand it.

 The Independent Sentinel : There should be neutral journalists or an even number of right and left journalists for both Democrat and Republican debates. It would be nice if they asked substantive questions but I don’t know if that can be mandated.

Since polls now show Democrats view Socialism favorably, Democrats might want someone from Black Lives Matter or the Revolutionary Communist Party to interview them. (I say that tongue-in-cheek.)

Well, there you have it.

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.

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