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The Town Crier

A Civil Fix for the GOP Debates

by C. John Grom  |  March 31, 2016

Bill Fairweather of Akron, Ohio contributed the following: “I cannot change who the contestants are, there’s a two part fix I would offer to these tiresomely ludicrous sideshows which otherwise are cast as the so-called GOP debates: it’s in their format. The way the rules now read, whenever a candidate’s name is invoked in another candidate’s response, that mentioned candidate then immediately gets to respond.  What then ensues, of course, given the present format, is entirely predictable: little more than a “cage fight” with nothing but the back [and] forth slinging of sandbox-like personal attacks and petty insults. Would it be too much to ask that the candidates at least act as though there’s still some semblance of dignity and presidential-level decorum left in what should be a serious selection process for the office of president of the United States?

The fix? First, the networks not make it so obviously about TV ratings and all the commensurate advertising revenue they realize as a result. Accordingly, I would recommend having their panel of chosen questioners take some ownership in all of this absurdity by not stirring the pot in baiting the candidates by what another candidate has said about them out on the campaign trail. Here’s a novel idea: restrict the questions to only those of real substance and purely issues-based.  Second, forewarn all the candidates at the outset of each debate that they’ll have 90 or so seconds to respond to any panel question posed to them, and that in the event their response diverts from the issue by way of their starting-in with personal attacks against another candidate, such will result in their mics being immediately cut off and remain so until they’re posed another panel question.

This way, unlike now, all the candidates would receive equal time addressing where they stand on the issues, allowing viewing public to discern the contrasts between them.

I’m not writing as an advocate of any particular candidate, but moreover, as just a concerned citizen about the bottom-dwelling depth to which the “debates” of the “Party of Abraham Lincoln,” to which I’ve proudly belonged all my life, have sunk. I call for the networks, who are laughing all the way to the bank by putting on these televised train wrecks take on their share of the responsibility here. They most certainly should not represent being the only winners when the “show” is over.”



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