How Debates SHOULD Be Structured

DISCLAIMER: What you’re about to read is the way things SHOULD happen. They won’t…but it is the way it SHOULD be if people who are running for office had a bigger brain.

The GOP is unhappy with the way the debates have gone so far, as a rule. I don’t think they’re all that pissed at Fox News. The first GOP debate went off without a hitch. Yes, the questions were tough, but they weren’t snarky. They didn’t try to embarrass the candidates, with the exception of the first question asking if there was anyone that wasn’t willing to sign a pledge to support the eventual nominee. But since that time, the debates have taken a decidedly “left” turn.

That’s primarily because CNN and CNBC hosted the last two. And while CNN’s debate was more aggressive in their questioning, and had the design to try to get people to attack each other, CNBC’s performance was just childish and immature. That has caused the GOP candidates to issue a list of demands that basically would allow them a lot more freedom or they would end up boycotting the debate. And they should.

Here is the way both the GOP and Democrat debates should be run.

Moderators are not from the networks hosting the debate. The moderators can either be liberals for the Democrats and conservatives for the Republicans, or vice versa. Frankly I’d like to see Laura Ingram and Rush Limbaugh questioning Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Either way, it’d be fair on both sides. It would stop CNN from trying to provoke candidates on the GOP side into fighting, while making the Democrats look like they’re taking part on a game show.

Opening statements will be one minute. Closing statements will be one minute. Answers are one minute in length. There are no follow-up questions, and the candidates are not able to ask questions or respond to each other. If a candidate goes over their allotted time, their microphone is shut off. All candidate will be asked the same number of questions and be given the same amount of time.

All questions will be substantive in nature and not snarky. There will be not sniping or gotcha questions. All questions will deal with policy issues, allowing candidates to explain their positions. There will be no softball questions to any candidate. If a candidate has done something that has required extensive media coverage in the past 30 days, that topic is open for discussion. Other than that, leave their campaign fundraising, their family life, what they think of Paul Ryan, all of that stuff out of it. And nobody cares who their favorite Care Bear character is. No follow-up questions from the moderators will be allowed. There will be no audience allowed in the debate arena. You might as well do the debate at a local TV station’s news set, because you don’t need a grandiose setting. And debates shouldn’t be any longer than 90 minutes. If you need to go longer than that, the moderators should be fired on the spot, or better yet, dunked with water balloons immediately after going over.

THAT is how you run a debate.

Carry on world…you’re dismissed!