We have had two pairs of Democratic Presidential debates – one pair in June, the other in July. Twenty candidates. Ten panelists at a time. Twenty qualified getting 1% on three polls and 65,000 individual donors.
One minute to answer a question. 30 second to respond to follow ups. The debates lasted about 2 ½ hours. Does anything like that happen in real life? Do these debates help us understands how these candidates would govern?
Add to the mix. The CNN moderators were great at stirring up trouble. Critics suggest they used Republican talking points to drive a wedge between moderates and liberals.
We should have done it differently. The DNC should have done it differently. Groups of 5 instead of groups of ten. Conversations instead of debates. Two per night. An hour and a half each. Continue to select from tiers so we don’t create one or two or three JV conversations. Not fairness. Test every candidate to get the best candidate.
Let the five participants agree on a moderator. Majority rules if there is no agreement. . The moderator’s goal is to allow candidates to talk about what they would do as president, what they would be like as president. Aim for differentiation, not “gotchas” or “putdowns.”
Rules. Limit the total time for each candidate to speak. No limit on any one response. 90 minutes. A perfect distribution of time talking for five candidates would be 18 minutes each. Here is the control. A candidate’s microphone goes dead after he or she speaks for 21 minutes.
Whether this is occurs during his or her first answer. Or third answer. 21 minutes is the end