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Opinion: How America Should Run Presidential and Vice-Presidential Debates

By Michael Alberto
Contributing Writer


In the recent presidential and vice-presidential debates, the moderators have received criticism about their handling of their respective event.

For the first presidential debate, moderator Chris Wallace received backlash regarding his lack of control over the multiple interruptions and generally chaotic nature of the event. In the vice-presidential debate, moderator Susan Page defended herself despite criticism for letting both candidates off the hook for not directly answering many of the questions asked. 

What both debates have shown is that they are less about telling the American public about policies and plans but more about sound-bites and candidate appearances. 

The point of a debate is not to solidify the beliefs of people who already hold the same beliefs as each of the candidates (respectively), but it is to have constructive conversations about issues that matter to the general American public. 

It should not be out of the question to enforce the rules for these debates and adhere to what a debate should be. The two debates so far demonstrate the necessity for stricter rules and more concrete guidelines.

While watching the presidential debate, I, along with many others, think President Donald Trump interrupted both the moderator and Former Vice President Joe Biden multiple times. 

According to FactCheck.org, the President lied on numerous occasions about the claims he made throughout the debate. 

Credit: nbcnews.com

The vice-presidential debate has similar results, as the AP Fact Check disproves many of the points Vice President Mike Pence brought up. 

Despite the vice-presidential debate being more well received than the presidential debate, multiple changes need to be made to create a better experience for everyone involved. 

A simple, yet effective, solution would be to mute a candidate’s mic. This could be implemented if the speaker is past their allotted time for speaking or for any other purpose deemed necessary by the moderator (such as inappropriate interruptions). 

Additionally, the moderators for the debates should take control of the debates more and force the speakers to stay on task and directly answer their questions. 

Debates should not be used as a platform to try and earn brownie points for each side’s respective constituents but as a forum for intellectual debate between two sides working to earn the votes of the undecided in the country. These changes could work to further this goal of what the debates should be.

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