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@MarkRileyMedia #MarkRiley blog: 5 Improvements to Debates & Elections

by Mark Riley posted Oct 22 2012 2:37PM

Maybe I'm just getting old and crotchety, but this election cycle is getting on my nerves. Sure, the charges and countercharges by the candidates will fly right up until election day. That's to be expected. Yet the means by which we elect the President of the United States and many other offices, from Congress on down, needs to be scrutinized, and in my humble opinion, changed. Hence my list of five changes that will make for better debates, and hopefully, elections. They''re limited to the presidential race, but they don't have to be. There are more, but some are impossible in my lifetime (life standardizing voting machines). So here goes:

1) Remove supervision of debates from the Commission on Presidential Debates. It should never have left the purview of the League of Women Voters, but it has, and for some time now. Can anybody reasonably argue we've gotten a better quality of debate because of the switch? Someone with sense should go on bended knee and and beg the League of Women Voters to take it over once again. If they won't, find a non partisan group that will.

2) Stop using polls as criteria for who can be in a presidential debate. The notion that candidates from so called "minor parties" are precluded from being on stage with the "big boys" sticks in my craw. And there's no argument about clutter or some other condescending garbage that passes the smell test. Polling should not be the criteria. Getting on the ballot in a requisite number of states is far more fair and equitable, and both the Democrats and Republicans know it.  How about 45 states? And anyone who tried to stop candidates from getting ballot access (like some have tried to do with Gary Johnson) would have their candidate removed from the ballot in that state.

3) If there's going to be a town hall debate format, let the folks who ask the questions do the followup if they don't get clarity. I wonder what would have happened if the lady who asked about gun violence at the last debate was allowed to say "you haven't answered my question".

4) Change election day from Tuesday to either Saturday, Sunday, or both. There may have been a legit reason for holding elections on Tuesday back in the day. It's no longer valid. Consider that Venezuela just had an election a few weeks ago. It was held on a Sunday, and 80.4% of the eligible electorate voted. Think they know something we don't?

5) Last but not least, how about we chill with the polls? Another day, another poll, and what do they mean? I'm not sure the people who do them know any better than the average person. Yet to hear some in media tell it, each polls is life or death for a candidate. I know this will probably never happen either. Too many pollsters make too much money, as do the pundits, pontificators and talking heads who have a stake in the horserace that presidential elections have become, and likely will be in the future.

So there you have it.  Can any of this stuff get done?  You tell me.

Listen to The Mark Riley Morning Show Monday through Friday 6 AM to 9 AM on WWRL 1600.

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Topics : Politics
People : Gary Johnson
10/22/2012 2:37PM
Five Ways to Improve Debates and Elections
Please Enter Your Comments Below
10/23/2012 10:10AM
I agree with you about the League of Women Voters, pretty much. I disagree about letting every small party participate. If too many parties participate, we will end up with a parliamentary system, which we don't want. I think that we should have early voting by mail, besides voting on Election Day.
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