From World News Group . . . . Mark Weaver . . . has coached dozens of high-profile campaigns. But now he says more Americans would rather watch reality TV than an hour of political discussion. With fewer viewers, candidates are beginning to view the debate stage as optional.
. . . Candidates in most swing states this cycle—including Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Georgia—have either refused the common campaign practice or have delayed scheduling a showing until just a month before the Election Day.
. . . the trend is not partisan. Candidates who are already ahead in the polls have tended to decline debate invitations, likely for fear of making a public gaffe that could cost valuable points. That, along with declining viewership numbers, perceived media bias, and hostile debate styles could mean voters will see few to no public, unscripted appearances from their candidates.
. . . Pennsylvania Republican governor candidate and current state senator Doug Mastriano said he does not trust biased moderators to conduct a fair debate. He has avoided any mainstream media appearances, as well. . . . .
“Some candidates have not debated and gone on to win without any problems. Other candidates notice, and go, ‘You know what? So-and-so last year didn’t debate, and he won. And she didn’t debate and she won. So let’s just say no.’” Weaver said. “Because others have refused with little repercussions. That makes other campaigns bold enough to say no.” . . .
Heritage Foundation fellow Hans von Spakovsky moderated a July debate in Nashville between three Republican state congressional candidates. He says the format of election debates has become so partisan that there is little value in them for either candidates or constituents anymore.
“A lot of candidates, particularly conservatives, can see that debates that are handled by reporters and journalists are staged,” Von Spakovsky told me. “Instead of trying to moderate a real discussion of issues, they often appear to be asking their questions and formulating their questions with a ‘gotcha’ attitude.”
Instead, von Spakovsky advocates a structure that replaces journalists with analysts and experts. He said as long as both candidates can agree on someone, this will ensure a more level playing field: “Debates are still a good idea. But I don’t think you’re gonna convince anybody to do it unless you can restructure them in a way in which you’re going to get more substantive discussions of issues. The moderators’ jobs are not to argue with the candidates, which we have seen in recent debates. Their job is to ask good, informed questions.” . . .
Debate dodging could extend beyond 2022. In April, the Republican National Committee withdrew from the Commission on Presidential Debates, a bipartisan group tasked with scheduling debates for presidential candidates. RNC spokesperson Ronna McDaniel said the commission was too biased, so the 2024 GOP candidates will be looking for other platforms if they debate at all.
(Excerpt from World News Group. Photo Credit: IFA. Bill and Betsy West, IFA Pennsylvania State Prayer Leaders appear with candidate Doug Mastriano and Amy Sabat, IFA’s State Coordinator.)
Partner with Us
Intercessors for America is the trusted resource for millions of people across the United States committed to praying for our nation. If you have benefited from IFA's resources and community, please consider joining us as a monthly support partner. As a 501(c)3 organization, it's through your support that all this possible.
Thanks for Praying!