April 22, 2021

5 Things I’d Love To See In a Presidential Debate


Tonight is yet another Election Infomercial Debate, this time on the topic of the economy.  It’s a Town-Hall style debate, which means that there’ll be bleachers and questions from the audience, but not as much interaction.

As I hinted at earlier, these debates are little more than chances to see the two candidates together and watch for gaffes (and fact checking).  Seeing as that’s the case, and dreaming of a better system, I’d propose that I’d love to see a debate that had one of the five features.

Take the Gloves Off

In this style of debate, the moderator would announce the topic, but then would let the candidates battle it out in the realm of ideas.  Each would have some time restrictions, but they would be only enforced if things got out of hand.  The candidates would face each other, and talk to each other about the issues, the attacks, and we’d actually see what they truly had to say when confronted.

Town-Hall Interactive

Fill the place with people pro each side and some undivided and let them react.  Part of the problem with these town halls (because of lack of time, etc.) is that there’s no energy for the candidates to feed off of.  Most of what we’re hearing (or not hearing depending on the state) from the stump comes from reaction to the crowd.  Get the crowd involved and were more likely to hear gaffes and what the candidates really think—and what they think appeals to voters.

Complete Debate

Bring up the third party challengers and have them discuss the topics that they think appeal to the public.  I understand that the media values “likelihood” over all else, but we should have a debate that includes the other parties.  It’s likely that they have an overlooked idea that the mainstream candidates can learn from.

Policy Debate

Let’s see the two actually create a policy to address a fictitious (or current) problem.  Have them present the single issue extemporaneously and work through it to completion.  Afterwards, present the policy to the President.

Bizarro World

Have the candidate, for each issue, point out the strengths in the opponent’s plan.  Have them defend it.  If they dodge the question, or don’t provide positive feedback, deduct time from a closing statement.

What do you think?  Is there things that you’d like to see in a debate, or do you like the current formats?

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5 thoughts on “5 Things I’d Love To See In a Presidential Debate

  1. Yeah or we could have a classical debate. Did you know that the form and rules of a debate have been laid out for centuries and that it’s a part of classical education?

    Why is it that in these presidential debates the MERITS of the issues are not discussed logically and concisely? Obviously because the presidential elections have become so pulp as to have no real substance at all.

    Would I want to hear the candidates talk about ‘the attacks’? No. Of course not. The attacks are a diversion from political substance. Are you aware that politics are actually a science? Yeah, there’s actually this objective reasoning used in making political policy, which is based upon careful observance of the facts… real politics you probably have never seen because real politics is not about lipstick, it’s not about who is a sexist and who is a racist. Politics have nothing to do with personality, persona, charisma, character, or anything of the like. Politics has to do with analyzing the data and following it through to it’s logical conclusion to find the best way to run a country, region or people, or for the abusers, to achieve whatever their agenda may be.

    Do I want to see the third party candidates? Yes, of course. Not specifically because I think they deserve to be in the debate just because they got a party ticket together, but because they are the only ones who are talking politics. You never hear about the personal slander Ralph Nader or Ron Paul engaged in do you? No. Why? Because they are too busy discussing REAL issues.

    What’s the point in asking the candidates to point out the good parts of the other’s campaign. Didn’t you notice that they’ve already been doing that voluntarily? I’m amazed they manage to distort reality to such an extent as to make themselves appear in any way different from each other.

    Remember when Republicans were supposed to be against socialism? Did you see John McCain’s most recent proposal? He wants to do another bailout of $300 billion. Why? Just so that he can say: “See? I thought of it first.” So when it appears to be working, he can take the credit for it.


    Well, no credit with me Mr. McCain, thats a socialist policy and the fact that you proposed it first puts you effectively to the left of Obama and lets me know that you don’t stand for principles, you’re just doing whatever you think will get you elected.

    Arthur Eisss last blog post..Confiscation Through Inflation

  2. You hit the nail on the head regarding third party candidates! Goodness – let’s have a REAL debate, not just regurgitation of talking points we’ve all heard ad nauseum!

    Great wish list…but we’ll never get it!

    Hollys last blog post..Internet down…

  3. I think that I was sleeping with my eyes open during the debate. lol Man, it was one of the most boring things I’ve sat through lately. It got on my nerves that all either candidate did was repeat everything from the last debate.

    While I understand that we are going to have a two-party system for some time, I disagree with anyone (including the media) in forcing that reality. Personally, I think that all debates should include every candidate, regardless of whether they are viewed as “electable”. If the people had more opportunity to examine all candidates with equal consideration, some of these other party candidates would BE more electable. Instead, they are excluded and dismissed from the beginning, though they may have just what the country needs in leadership.

    Jennas last blog post..Daybook: October 1, 2008

  4. @Arthur Eiss: Debates are not debates, they’re infomercials of segments of stump speeches with “fact checking” and looking for gaffes thrown in for fun. Part of the problem is who arranges these debates– and the fact that there are not enough of them. Had Obama accepted McCain’s challenge to have 11 town halls from the end of the primaries until the convention we might have seen some more interesting fare.

    @Holly: One can hope that we’d get something more interesting, but I doubt it. And we wonder why the American people are always at the point that they can’t decide.

    @Jenna: Definitely– if you’re on the ballot you should be heard.

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