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Tags: cpd | moderator | rnc

Revamping House, Senate Debates Benefits GOP Candidates, Voters



Michael B. Abramson By Tuesday, 05 July 2022 03:52 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

The format for political debates for U.S. House and Senate races (as well as other contests) needs to be revamped. These debates often disadvantage Republicans because the moderators are biased.

They ask questions which are designed either to help Democrats or spotlight issues which are more favorable to Democrats.

An example of biased and uninformative debates is the May 3, 2022, debate for the Republican candidates for U.S. Senate in Georgia sponsored by the Atlanta Press Club.

The 57-minute debate did not feature any questions on inflation, rising gas prices, or immigration. Two questions, however, focused on abortion, and abortion was discussed for 11 minutes, or 19%, of the debate's total time. Crime was not mentioned until more than halfway into the debate even though crime soared in Atlanta, Georgia's capital, in 2022.

Republicans should not outsource the choice of topics or the framing of discussions to moderators. Doing so puts Republicans at a great disadvantage in debates.

Moreover, the public often does not get to hear from candidates on the issues which are the most important to voters.

Republicans need to use a new debate format which guarantees that the debate covers issues that Republican candidates wish to discuss.

It's baffling why Republicans did not make such a change years ago.

In a 2015 article in The Daily Caller, I wrote that the best format for the debates would be to remove the moderator and develop a system whereby each candidate speaks on the same topics for an equal amount of time.

Ideally, the topics would include those which Americans have rated as most important in polls conducted by Rasmussen, Gallup, Quinnipiac, etc. (the Rasmussen poll, for example, states that healthcare, the economy, national security, and immigration are currently the top issues to voters).

Debates would no longer have a rule stating that rebuttals are allowed if an opponent mentions the other person's name. With this rule, moderators were left to decide when a candidate could respond and, if so, for how long.

The result was an unequal distribution of time between the candidates, often due to moderator bias. Rather, speaking time and order of speeches would be negotiated prior to the debate.

In April 2022, the Republican National Committee (RNC) took a positive step regarding Presidential Debates by unanimously voting to withdraw from Presidential Debates sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD).

The RNC should continue this logic and abandon biased moderators in the U.S. House and Senate debates. The choice of representatives and senators is important, and control of the House and/or Senate can have a profound impact. The debates have an impact on voters, and the RNC should not allow biased debates to affect voters' choices for these important positions.

The 2022 Debates for U.S. House and Senate are also great opportunities to try out different debate formats and determine which one is best to replace the CPD Presidential Debates in 2024. The key is to find one that does not advantage either candidate and allows the candidates to inform the voters about their views.

Republican candidates and voters will benefit from this new format which is not subject to the biases of the moderator. 

Michael B. Abramson is a practicing attorney. He is also an adviser with the National Diversity Coalition for Trump. He is the host of the "Advancing the Agenda" podcast and the author of "A Playbook for Taking Back America: Lessons from the 2012 Presidential Election." Follow him on his website and Twitter, @mbabramson. Read Michael B. Abramson's Reports — More Here.

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Republicans should not outsource the choice of topics or the framing of discussions to moderators. Doing so puts Republicans at a great disadvantage in debates.
cpd, moderator, rnc
Tuesday, 05 July 2022 03:52 PM
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