BLOG: Worthington Fixes the Democratic Debates
By Rick Worthington
There were seven candidates on the stage, in the 10th Democratic debate in Charleston, South Carolina. Each of them had a message to get out, and a limited amount of time to get it out. The problem is, they all tried to get that message out while somebody – or everybody else was talking, making it impossible to understand any of them.
It was a disaster for the entire Democratic party, and that is really all anybody can take away from the 10th debate. So, I decided to list the things I would do to fix the debates.
Here is the biggest problem: There are too many candidates and none of them can make any headway in a group that big. The simple solution is, get rid of at least half of them. Even four candidates is too many. And let’s be honest, there are really only 3 that even have a shot at winning the nomination anyway.
How do you decide which candidates to put on the stage? At this point, I’d only allow candidates who have placed in the top two of primaries already held. There have been 3 primaries. (Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada) That puts Buttigieg, Sanders, and Biden on the stage, with the option to add 1 more.
If it were up to me, Bloomberg is not allowed, it would have to be Warren or Klobuchar, as both have delegates already pledged to them. Bloomberg is out of luck, because he hasn’t been in the race the entire time.
There you go, three on the stage and more time to hear each of them. But I think I’d go further than just limiting the number of candidates involved. I’d force the candidates to answer a questionnaire on the issues prior to the debate, look for issues where they disagree with each other, and focus on the disagreements. Why even bring up issues they already all agree on?
I’m not done, yet. I’d also force each candidate to reveal how much money they have raised, explain where the money has come from and list any major endorsements. I’d pop as much of that information on the screen as possible while they are answering questions.
And here is something new… Think NFL TV coverage, with graphic overlays during the debate, so you can see and learn more about the candidate in real time. The NFL system is called the “Live Video Insertion System.” What I’m saying is, the technology is there, the Networks should use it on debate night. Make it a show.