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Two Types of Debates

Post # 295, Bob McKnight's Florida Commentary

Now that the 2024 Political Campaign is well underway, Americans are watching debates. Lots of them. The first Republican Presidential Debate occurred at the end of August. Watching it occurred that we have two kinds of debates, and without drawing any attention, we are using one type of debate. Consider:

  1. Debate Between the Candidates. These are generally direct debates between the candidates, with the moderators there to keep the debate moving, orderly, and fair. These are generally the debates preferred by the candidates because they can research an issue, take a position on it, and debate it with their opponents. One might say these kinds of debates are solely on the issues and the most important.

2. Debates Including the Moderators Participating. These are the debates we have had primarily since the media started airing debates. The role of the moderator can range from administrative to judgmental and refereeing. These are the kinds of debates that are now very controversial because the Moderator takes on a critical role depending on the involvement. Examples come to mind of Megan Kelly asking Donald Trump why he had been sued by so many women for sexual assaults. Trump refused to answer and commented on Kelly's physical body, which was not a part of the debate.

When looking at those two choices, it is safe to assume that the candidates would prefer the first type of debate. But that is not true if the hard Moderator questions are given to candidates who do not respond well. Then the second type of debate is the favorite. Many idealists would prefer the first style of debate.

But most Americans seem to prefer the second type of debate because of the great importance of the race, the campaign, and the outcome. Most Americans would liker the moderator to ask fair, relevant, and civil questions in each debate.

The Moderator's role in the debates is becoming controversial with some moderators going beyond established norms. But those norms are not identified. That is what should be done with the candidates' concurrence of the norms before the debate.

Debates are the centerpiece of elections in a Democracy. We need to get them right.


Announcing an enhancement to my Commentary.

Starting with the first post in September and

every month thereafter, I will release a bonus of Quorum Call

featuring a legislator from the Golden Years of the Florida Legislature.

Be at liberty to send nominations to


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