Voters and commentators have been complaining with some justice that our politics has become increasingly polarized. Someone listening to Democratic and Republican debates may wonder whether the candidates of the two parties are living in the same country.If the top selling point for candidates of each party is that they are the ones who can take on and defeat the other party, let's give them a chance to prove it. Hillary says she's "your girl" for Democrats who want a candidate who can take on the right wing. Giuliani says that he is the one who can take Hillary on and win. Well, let's see if this is all true. And let's see before we start voting and it's too late. I think it's a great idea and much better than having these almost biweekly debates that we're having now and that few but committed partisans are paying much attention to. Let some organization say they'll host the debate and invite only those candidates who are in two digits in national polls. And let's have at it!
A two-party debate would at least force candidates of both parties to meet in the same room, listen to one another and speak knowing that weak arguments may be punctured by those on the other side and that voters beyond their parties’ bases would be watching. It would allow voters not committed to either of the two parties to hear a wider range of views, and it would expose voters committed to one party to the arguments of the opposition. Is anyone out there willing to step forward and sponsor such a debate?
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Michael Barone proposes an idea that holds a lot of promise. He suggests that the candidates of both parties appear in a joint debate. Apparently, there was one like that in 1987 with 12 candidates. That is still too many. Barone proposes waiting until the slate of candidates have been winnowed down once the voting starts early next year. I'd prefer that they hold it now and just invite the top three to five candidates from each side. As Barone writes, there would be several advantages for both parties as well as for the electorate in seeing them on the same stage together.