Opinion

The truth: The presidential debates are a farce

In 1987 the Democrat and Republican parties decided to join forces to create a joint entity to oversee presidential debates. Since 1976 the League of Women Voters, a non-partisan organization, had accepted the challenge to run the debate series so that the public would be able to witness actual debate between candidates. What the parties’ decision would obviously lead to is the exclusion of any candidate who is outside of the two parties and the end of actual debating.

In a letter to the editor in the New York Times dated March 11, 1987, Lenore Chester, then-president of the New York League, stated that the debates should not be controlled by the two major parties because they will stifle debate and then goes on to list reasons why her organization has had trouble with candidates from both parties. The debate set for March 2, 1988, was cancelled because a few of the candidates did not want to participate, which was probably a party tactic. In October of that same year the League ended its relationship with the debates. Today we have the Commission on Presidential Debates that was formed in 1987. The commission’s website states that it was created to “provide the best possible information to viewers and listeners” and that it is also nonpartisan.

I do not believe this for a second. I highly doubt that an organization created the same year as both parties’ decision to end their relationship with the League is nonpartisan. What we have now is an organization that works in concert with both major parties to eliminate debate and squash the attempt of any other party candidate to join, which is what happened this year with Ralph Nader. There is no actual debate. It is merely a question, answer and short rebuttal session. The revelation of the secret contract between each party for this series of debates does not make me feel any more inclusive in the political process of this nation.

I do not feel that there is any reason to actually watch or listen to these sound bite sessions. In no way will each candidate be spontaneous or say anything that was not driven into their heads by their coaches and speechwriters. I would like to have a moderator and all of the candidates answering questions the moderator wrote without informing anyone and the allowance of ample time for rebuttal instead of a quick 30 seconds. The debates are a farce and only push the public farther away from an inclusive experience.

Vontilla Steven can be contacted at

v.steven@umiami.edu.

October 15, 2004

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Former NFL and University of Miami star Kellen Winslow Jr. was arrested Thursday for numerous allege ...

Trevor Darling's perseverance paid off. After not being selected in the NFL Draft, the former U ...

Father's Day has never been a big holiday in the Larranaga household because basketball always ...

The start to former Miami Hurricanes defensive end Chad Thomas' NFL career is going through a m ...

At one section of Miami's Richmond Park, Hurricanes offensive line coach Stacy Searels taught a ...

A University of Miami lecturer explores the role of the front porch in black communities. ...

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, two public health sciences students traveled to Puerto Rico to ...

Colder Atlantic temperatures could change hurricane season forecasts, but the trend isn't expec ...

UM neurorehabilitation expert David S. Kushner, M.D., who helps modern patients recover from brain s ...

UM News interviewed a Miami Business School professor to learn more about claims that the changes co ...

An outstanding showing at the USATF Championships earned Symone Mason a trip to the World U20 Champi ...

UM alum returns to lead Canes' MBB strength and conditioning efforts. ...

Amy Deem was recognized for the third time as the ACC Women's Outdoor Track and Field Coach of ...

During the 2017-18 school year, Miami had student-athletes from 17 of the 32 countries in the FIFA W ...

The University of Miami track and field program got off to a strong start at the 2018 USATF Junior O ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.