Home 2019 Elections I’d Like to See a Different Kind of Debate

I’d Like to See a Different Kind of Debate


by Andy Schmookler

Watching the debate between Hillary and Bernie, I like them both. But I don’t much like the debate.

With their questions, the moderators encouraged a combative process. But it was the candidates, too, it seemed, wanting to make the case for themselves by going after the other.

It doesn’t have to be that way. And I wish it weren’t.

Competition can take various forms.

It can be like two boxers, trying to hit each other. The blow struck by one is an injury to the other.

But it can also be like in golf, where each puts in his/her best performance. Or like a beauty pageant, where the contestants compete by each showing what they’ve got and letting the judges decide who’s most appealing.

I would like debates with Hillary and Bernie to be more like golfers and less like boxers.

My favorite moment of the debate was when the issue was raised concerning possible privatization of the Veterans Administration—an idea favored these days, the questioner said, by the Republicans. Both candidates went after not each other, but the Republicans and the Koch Brothers.

That’s the kind of thing this campaign process should be mostly about: making the case for why the people should support the Democrats. And the voters can decide who makes that case best.

I’d like to see debates that look less like two people fighting each other, and more like two teammates working toward victory—and understanding that the primary voters will be the ones who decide which member of the team should be voted MVP.