Debate Commission Working to Provide More Structure After Tuesday Night's Debacle. Here Are Some Suggestions


Illustration for article titled Debate Commission Working to Provide More Structure After Tuesday Nights Debacle. Here Are Some Suggestions
Photo: Jim Watson (Getty Images)

Following the shitshow masquerading as the first presidential debate Tuesday night, the Commission on Presidential Debates has promised format changes for the second debate.

NBC News reports that the changes come as a result of President Donald Trump constantly flaunting the established rules. The result was a debate rife with interruptions and name-calling, with little in the way of substantive policy discussion. I had to turn off the TV, pour a glass of wine and read Crisis on Infinite Earths to distract from the horror show.

“Last night’s debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues,” the CPD said in a statement, NBC reports. “The CPD will be carefully considering the changes that it will adopt and will announce those measures shortly.”

Typically, the CPD works with both candidates before the debates to establish a set of mutually agreed-upon rules for all three debates. Changes to the format as the debates are ongoing almost never occur, only further highlighting just how batshit Tuesday night’s display was.

While it’s still not clear what these changes may look like, a source told NBC that the idea to give the moderator the ability to shut off a candidate’s mic to prevent interruptions is being discussed. It’s a solid idea but at this point, I’m not entirely convinced Trump wouldn’t simply just attempt to yell over Biden.

During a campaign stop in Ohio, Democratic presidential nominee former Vice President Joe Biden expressed to reporters a desire for the format to be changed for the next debate.

“Well, you know, he not only attacked me constantly and my family, but he attacked the moderator,” Biden said of Trump. “I just hope there’s a way in which the debate commission can control the ability of us to answer the question without interruption. I’m not going to speculate on what happens in the second or third debate.”

The Trump campaign issued a statement arguing against any potential changes in the established format. “They shouldn’t be moving the goalposts and changing the rules in the middle of the game,” Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign communications director, said in the statement.

Since we’re talking about changes, I have what I feel are some really strong ideas the commission should explore. Political debates are really nothing more than two wrestlers cutting promos on why they could beat the other’s ass—but like, with policy. So why not lean into it?

Get some pyro in there and maybe add some interesting stipulations. Perhaps after one of the candidates reaches three interruptions, the Dudley Boyz come out and 3D them through a table?

Shit, why not make Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson the moderator? Just saying, when a dude that swole tells you to “Know your role and shut your mouth,” you tend to do so.

I know it’s all a bit ridiculous but considering what we witnessed Tuesday night, I don’t know how effective any modest changes are really going to be against a president who has displayed a concerning lack of self-control.

The next presidential debate is scheduled for Oct. 15 in Miami and, as of now, is planned as a town hall format. The final presidential debate will be held on Oct. 22 in Nashville and will be the final one-on-one showdown between the two before the election. Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic VP hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris will debate next Wednesday in the only scheduled VP debate.

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