Each candidate is paired with one other candidate for a 30-minute, one-on-one debate. At the end of each 30-minute block, the candidates swap their debate partners. Think speed-dating for politics. Before each block, each candidate picks one topic they would like to debate (i.e. foreign policy, the economy, healthcare, etc.) with their current partner. A moderator chooses a third topic. This gives each candidate an average of five minutes per topic per block. This is more time than even the most talkative windbags get for an entire debate currently, and they get it for one topic. Let's take a look at the pros and cons of this format.
- All candidates get equal time.
- The amount of time given per topic is enough for meaningful discussion.
- Everyone gets to debate everyone else, nothing goes unchallenged.
- Viewers are more fully informed.
- This will be a long process. Each of the eleven candidates will have to debate ten times. At thirty minutes each, that's a total of fifty five hours for viewers to watch, and five-and-one-half hours for the entire process to take place.
- This process could be more costly, as there would need to be ten moderators, one for each pairing of candidates.
- Community input would be virtually non-existent, with the possible exception of moderators using questions from the audience, local community or internet. This is the polar opposite of a town-hall format.
I know I've focused exclusively on the Republican debates, but they have more candidates, which means they would have the biggest time footprint, which is the main problem I see with this format. The Democrats could get this done with twenty eight hours of viewing time out of a three hour event. Am I missing anything here?
Like this idea?