A Word About Presidential Debates

There is only one excuse for Trump to accept the challenge to two debates as he did:  to force Biden into a public forum requiring him to put his dubious conversational skills in the spotlight for an extended period of time. Only time will tell if White House handlers can get the tana leaves mixed right for Biden to appear at least halfway cogent. The downside is that the critical flaw in the debate format will remain yet unaddressed: allowing members of the press to act as moderators. That means that only those questions that matter to the press will get asked, while much of what matters to flyover country gets ignored. I would like to see a format in which questions are fielded by a panel of two or four moderators representing think tanks instead of press organizations. Imagine if a question like “What do you plan to do for small business?” had popped up during one of the 2020 Democrat primary debates. You think any of those candidates would know where to even begin to find an answer? Especially during THAT year when COVID policy herded small business to the sacrificial altar in the name of the precautionary principle? The press should be in the business of reporting the news rather than crafting policy, and taking away its role in shaping the debates is a step in the right direction.

17 thoughts on “A Word About Presidential Debates”

  1. I doubt seriously that there will be a debate. Biden hopes for a conviction from that NY jury will give him an excuse to refuse. In 2022, the Secretary of State, who was also the Democrat candidate, refused to debate her Republican opponent. We found out why on Election Day when the voting machines in Republican districts all malfunctioned. If your vote fraud is good enough, you don’t need votes.

  2. Some people who pay more attention to this “election” than I do have been speculating that the real point of the debate is for the Demoncrat insiders to test “Joe Biden”. If “Joe Biden” falls flat on his inarticulate face (which many expect), then Demoncrats can claim to be shocked! shocked! — Who could ever have guessed that “Joe Biden’s” mental capacity had crashed so rapidly & unexpectedly. “Joe Biden” would then withdraw his candidacy and the Demoncrats would be free to replace him with someone else — say a fresh young face like Hilary! Clinton?

    On the other hand, if “Joe Biden” survives the debate with nothing worse than a bloody nose, then Demoncrats could officially shrug off any concerns about his obvious mental decline and get back to counting votes.

  3. They will so condition the debate format and provoke Trump in doing so that he will refuse to debate, leaving Joe in the clear.

  4. It was hard to keep track during the blizzard of announcements regarding the debates but my understanding is that Trump has pretty much conceded all the conditions that Biden placed on them, though it is possible I misunderstood his acceptances. I’m in heated agreement that the major problem with the “debate” format currently in place is the outsized role of the moderators. *They* are the ones who need mikes which go dead after they get 45-60 seconds to announce the topic. Given that no media organization would carry the debate without participation of their big names, and now even the fig leaf that a non-partisan group (The Debate Commission) set up the debates is gone. It’s going to be essentially two on one against Trump (Biden will probably speak the least).

    The timing of the debates is bizarre. The first occurs before either man is officially nominated, and the second occurs two months before Election Day and before the first debate in the PDC suggested schedule of three was to happen. I think both Gavin and Mike bring up good points. Biden will likely duck the debate if Trump is convicted, and if the debate does go off and Biden bombs, the Democrats have time to implement a plan B. The second debate occurring with so much time before Election day almost suggests the Democrats could replace Biden after it, and then stiff Trump if he wants to debate the replacement candidate.

  5. I don’t know. Maybe a straight up no façade hostile room would be good for Trump. He’s had a lot of practice and will need more going forward. Just assume, and right out say so, that Biden has all the questions in advance – Nay – that his communications team wrote them. To perform competently at a very hostile “away game” is noteworthy. To stumble, mumble and bumble away a huge home field advantage, likewise.

  6. The second debate occurring with so much time before Election day almost suggests the Democrats could replace Biden after it, and then stiff Trump if he wants to debate the replacement candidate.

    Thy have to be early because of early voting. Go back to Election Day only and the Ds have to manipulate the voting machines as they did in Arizona.

  7. Trump could ignore the reporters’ questions, and just present his talking points.

    “Interesting question, Tapper, but let me remind everyone about how great the economy was during my presidency….”

  8. My guess is, Trump figures figures all he has to do is get Biden on stage for an hour and it will be obvious to even the most biased observer that Biden isn’t just a little senile, he’s way senile. Of course, Trump is getting a bit senile himself. Does anyone seriously think either will still be fit to be president 4.5 years from now?

  9. I would not assume that Biden will necessarily be the nominee. Democrats want to hold onto power, and if Biden is in the way, he will be persuaded to resign.

  10. Doesn’t matter how Biden does. Remember the Fetterman – Oz debate and the special conditions for Fetterman? He couldn’t keep anything straight and still “won” the debate and the election.

  11. David Foster
    May 22, 2024 at 3:59 pm

    …and if Biden is in the way, he will be persuaded to resign.
    If he is in the way, Jill will be persuaded to resign him. You don’t think it’s his strength of will keeping this going, do you?

  12. I can’t recall when or if I ever watched a Presidential debate. I did once watch a debate between Connecticut gubernatorial candidates. My babysitter listened to the Kennedy-Nixon debates on radio, and concluded that Nixon had won the debates- a conclusion at odds with those who watched them on television.

  13. Trump should just ignore the moderators and talk to the people. In a wrapup, he can say he ignored them because of their bias.

  14. Andreessen may do some VC investing on his own, but most of it is probably through the VC firm that he co-founded, Andreessen-Horowitz. (‘Horowitz’ is Ben Horowitz, who interestingly is the son of leftist-turned-conservative David Horowitz–small world!) I think most entrepreneurs would be thrilled to get an investment from A-H and few would be likely to turn it down on political grounds. Some potential Limited Partners might choose to invest because of politics, but I suspect there’d be plenty of others to take their place.

  15. If Silicon Valley could turn hypocrisy into electricity, they wouldn’t have to dream of controlled fusion to power their AI’s.

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