Blue Ohioan asks: What are we going to do about the dearth of real debate

I don’t know – what do you think we should do about it? I’m listening and I’ve just spent 35 minutes in the Internet’s black holes educating myself a bit more about the League of Women Voters, nationally and locally.

Here’s part of what Susan at Blue Ohioan posted, which is from Wikipedia:

The League of Women Voters Education Fund sponsored the 1976, 1980, and 1984 presidential debates. In 1988, the LWV withdrew from debate sponsorship, in protest of the major party candidates attempting to dictate nearly every aspect of how the debates were to be conducted, which ultimately resulted in the Democratic and Republican parties forming the Commission on Presidential Debates which gave the parties greater control over the debate environment.

On October 2, 1988, the LWV’s 14 trustees voted unanimously to pull out of the debates, and on October 3 they issued a dramatic press release:

The League of Women Voters is withdrawing sponsorship of the presidential debates … because the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter. It has become clear to us that the candidates’ organizations aim to add debates to their list of campaign-trail charades devoid of substance, spontaneity and answers to tough questions. The League has no intention of becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public.

The LWV continues to sponsor and moderate candidates’ meetings and debates for local and state elections across the country. The LWV puts out voter’s guides that compare candidates’ positions on various issues. Some chapters of the LWV also staff precincts on Election Day.

What would be a reasonable, achievable plan that would address the question, “What are we going to do about it?”?

2 thoughts on “Blue Ohioan asks: What are we going to do about the dearth of real debate

  1. I agree, Daniel. It’s one thing to be cautious, thoughtful and specific. It’s another thing to be stymied by fear and raw ambition.

  2. The trouble is not only at the presidential level. Though LWV continues to sponsor debates at state and local levels, there certainly seems to be a trend toward candidates clamming up. Consider the following blog entry from Scott Bakalar at Word of Mouth: of the discussion along that vein is continued here: you imagine that some Lorain city council candidates have actually hired an image consultant to advise their campaigns this year so that they can win a part-time job on city council that pays just a little over $10,000 per year? What ever happened to low budget local campaigns? Meanwhile, the candidates have been invited to post their platforms, with no 3rd-party editing, for FREE at WoM, with only 3 takers, to date!It used to be that politicians were characterized as windbags. Who would have predicted that politicians nowadays would choose to restrict their own speech!

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