Debate factor: a new format for Presidential debates

Jimmy Pyles


Last week, I got an update on my phone from the Associated Press (AP) app saying Barack Obama won the town hall format debate against Mitt Romney on Oct. 16. Again, this Monday I got an update that said there was no clear winner in the final presidential debate.

I’m glad my AP app is so fast and effective, but is there really a winner and loser in a Presidential debate? It’s all about how each individual person watching the debate thinks the candidates answered the question the best. But did either of them ever really answer the questions anyway?

After the last two debates, I have come up with the best way to maximize truth and actually force the candiates to answer the questions to help weed out the bullshit.

Let’s organize all the debates into one big game show like “America’s Got Talent.”


Both parties would be on stage and would be cut off when people don’t like their answers. In “America’s Got Talent,” a performer gets the chance to perform, but if the judges don’t like what’s going on, they can instantly shut them down.

Maybe this way, the candidates would actually focus on the topics and what they have to say before turning the debate into a pissing contest. 

The judges will be mediators from each of the three debates. Unlike the mediators in the current format, who have little control over calming down the candidates when they get in a “I’m right, you’re wrong” shouting match (like the one Candy Crowley of CNN tried very sweetly to break up), mediators in the game show format will now possess all the power.

Hopefully, this format would give people who Facebook and tweet about the debates more to say than just, “Answer the question, you idiot!”

To decide who wins the debate, we should let Americans vote instead of letting the media decide. Give the show a 1-800 number and let Americans vote for who they think won. Because let’s face it: more people will vote for this season’s “American Idol,” “The X Factor” and “The Voice” than will vote in the election.

Don’t have a phone? That’s fine – each person gets a GoPhone from the government with just enough minutes to allow you to cast your vote. Paying for GoPhone could be cheaper than paying people to work the polls.

We could never only have strong moderators who actually force the candidates to answer the questions. Politicians are tricky liars and would never submit to that kind of format. The only way to encourage them to answer questions is for the panel of judges to completely make them stop “performing” when they stray from the question, as I am proposing.

If this format works for choosing the winner of the debate, maybe someday we can structure voting for the entire election like a game show. After all, all Americans care more about those shows than they do about the election. Someone should organize this idea further – it can’t be me because I hardly watch the debates in the current format or even game shows, for that matter.