January 20, 2019

Do We Need the Democratic Presidential Debates?

“In my imagination, a weary Tom Perez turns to an aide at the Democratic National Committee and says, wistfully, “Tell me about how it was.”

“Mr. Chairman, at the first televised presidential debate in 1960, there were just two candidates, sitting side by side in a Chicago TV studio. They each made opening statements of eight minutes … ”

Perez begins to sob quietly.

“Eight minutes,” he murmurs. “Eight minutes … ”

We can forgive the DNC chairman his imaginary grief. As the 2020 campaign beckons, the Democrats are facing the improbable probability that more than two dozen candidates will be pursuing the presidency. Imposing a rational structure for TV debates with such a large field will be not just improbable but impossible.

Well, with one exception: The only way to do this fairly is to get rid of all the debates. That’s right: No debates! Let’s cancel political Christmas, at least for all of next year.”

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