Presidential Debates in 2024

Karl Rove wants a return to simplicity:

A return to simplicity would mean fewer diversions….

His idea for achieving this:

The first presidential debates between the parties’ nominees, Kennedy and Nixon in 1960, were done in small TV studios. Only the moderator, a panel of journalists, and a handful of network executives were present.

Except in 1960, the press wasn’t nearly so biased as it is today—and nakedly, proudly so today.

And a pressman moderator? Recall even in the 2015-16 Republican primary debates, how blatantly Moderator Wolf Blitzer, during that debate’s Audience Question Time, took the question that an audience member asked on national television and completely distorted it into something that Blitzer wanted asked instead.

Rove’s idea isn’t particularly balanced in its simplicity.

On the other hand, it’s hard to see how much simpler it could get than a two-hour debate in a town hall setting with Trump and Biden, and RFK, Jr, if he’d be willing to show up; Each debater would take turns taking questions from the audience that each debater then would answer. There would be no moderator from the press to screen the questions; the debaters would simply take their chances on selecting an audience member to ask his/her question.

The two hours would give the viewers and the town hall audience ample opportunity to evaluate policies on offer (if any); the ability of each debater to concretely answer the question asked, even to stick to each question’s subject over the two-hour course; and the ability of each debater to remain focused and clear for the duration.

Then do at least two more such town hall debates. Trump wants more debates than just the three the Commission on Presidential Debates, in its irrelevance, wants; it’d be interesting to learn how many of the other parties’ candidates would be amenable—and who those candidates would be.

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