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Are debates supposed to be entertainment?

January 18, 2016

As the days of reckoning draw ever closer, and some people start to actually listen to the candidates, the next-to-last round of debates closed out on Sunday with the Democrats apparently trying to quash the notion that there is a chance of a real contest among the three remaining candidates.

Obviously, it’s a lot harder to create interest when for all intents and purposes there are only two people on that side of the aisle in actual contention and the debate is scheduled on a playoff Sunday, but hey, they tried. Whether they changed any minds is the most debatable part of the whole exercise. The socialists are going to vote for Bernie, and the rank-and-file Dems are going to vote for Hillary. ‘Nuff said.

Then there was the previous Thursdays GOP debate.

To be fair, Fox Business says they tried to present a chance for the candidates to present some substantive arguments as to whether someone should vote for them and some of the still too large field of hopefuls surely tried. Rubio, Christie, Fiorina and even Jeb Bush tried to stay on point.

It all went off the rails when for some unaccountable reason Fox’s Neil Cavuto introduced the birther issue. Considering that the debate was supposedly based on the issues that were trending on Facebook, that seemed contrived. Maybe he thought Trump had missed a cue or something.

From that point on, it was the Trump-Cruz show.

Sure it’s good TV, assuming that you like producing snarky fodder for SNL skits and it prevented Trump from having to present any in-depth strategy or policy facts for examination.

It’s not like Trump needs an excuse to launch attack ad fodder on anyone. That part of politics he clearly gets.

And Cruz has pretty much made his bones on being a fighter, making  the outcome inevitable.

The trouble was it didn’t serve the voters at all. The cage match spectators maybe, but not the voters, and it’s gotten really old, really fast.

There is apparently one more GOP debate on January 28, in Iowa under the auspices of Fox News. That close to the election you can hope that the candidates and the moderators would take it seriously.

From → op-ed

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