The official general election presidential debate format has been pretty stagnant over the last several decades with two (sometimes three) candidates taking questions from a moderator with little interaction from actual voters. Various media outlets in 2008 and 2012 livened their primary debates up with concepts like a "YouTube" debate where candidates answered questions submitted in video form by voters. Of course, most of the networks integrated social media into their coverage as well.
This has not been the case with the Commission on Presidential Debates which has kept the same format of moderator-candidate questioning. However, a group of researchers making up the Annenberg Working Group on Presidential General Election Debates aims to possibly change this in 2016.
Report from The Daily Pennsylvanian:
Prominent Republican attorney and 1974 College graduate and former Daily Pennsylvanian Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Ginsberg and Annenberg School of Communications professor Kathleen Hall Jamieson are specifically looking at the format of these debates as part of the Annenberg Working Group on Presidential General Election Debates. The group aims to evaluate current methodologies of presidential debates, such as its format and location.
In response to recent rapid advances in technology, they are also considering ways of integrating social media into the debates. Results of their study are expected by late spring.
“We’re not saying something is broken and we’re trying to fix it,” Jamieson told Politico earlier this week. “We’re saying there’s an enormous potential here for voter learning and asking if there’s a way to increase the number of people who benefit from that.”
Both Jamieson and Ginsberg declined to comment further about the group until the results of its study are released.
The working group has already met twice this fall — both times at Penn’s Annenberg Public Policy Center. It is planning to meet with leaders of the Commission on Presidential Debates next month to discuss the intentions of its study.
Seems like baby steps to me in terms of getting social media involved in the debates. As stated above, nearly all the networks did that during primary debates in 2008 and 2012. However, I'm glad to see at least some element of the format may be getting updated into this century.
President Obama raised this issue yesterday in a speech to a progressive audience so I think it's a worthy topic for discussion. In the President's view, income inequality and disparity are issues which only the government can "solve" by some sort of redistribution scheme. However, the President offered no specifics, he only encouraged congress to somehow take up these issues with short term economic legislation.
Report from Nola.com:
President Barack Obama prodded Congress to raise wages and secure the social safety net as he issued an overarching appeal Wednesday to correct economic inequalities that he said make it harder for a child to escape poverty. "That should offend all of us," he declared. "We are a better country than this."
Focusing on the pocketbook issues that Americans consistently rank as a top concern, Obama argued that the dream of upward economic mobility is breaking down and that the growing income gap is a "defining challenge of our time."
"The basic bargain at the heart of our economy has frayed," the president said in remarks at a nonprofit community center a short drive from the White House in one of Washington's most impoverished neighborhoods.
Though he offered no new initiatives, Obama blended a call for Congress to act on pending short-term economic measures with an ambitious vision aimed at rectifying a growing level of income inequality in the United States. Amid public doubts over Obama's stewardship of the economy, the speech served as a guide for the remaining three years of his term.
Is the President right? Does he bear any responsibility for the lackluster economy since 2009? Is it the government or free market capitalism that can best provide opportunity and upward mobility?
All eyes have been locked on Hillary Clinton in relation to the 2016 Democratic nomination. However, could 2016 be similar to 2008 when an up-and-coming candidate to Clinton's left beat her out of the top spot? Supporters of progressive-minded politicians like Elizabeth Warren, Senator from Massachusetts, certainly think so.
Report from the Washington Post:
For more than two years, President Obama has endorsed reducing Social Security payments as part of an ambitious deal to tame the national debt. But then Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) — viewed by supporters on the left as a potential 2016 presidential candidate — embraced a far different proposal: increasing benefits for seniors.
As Obama struggles to achieve his second-term domestic agenda, a more liberal and populist voice is emerging within a Democratic Party already looking ahead to the next presidential election. The push from the left represents both a critique of Obama’s tenure and a clear challenge to Hillary Rodham Clinton, the party’s presumptive presidential front-runner, who carries a more centrist banner.
The left’s influence will be on display in coming weeks when a high-profile congressional committee formed after the government shutdown faces a deadline to forge a budget agreement. Under strong pressure from liberals, the panel has effectively abandoned discussion of a “grand bargain” agreement partly because it probably would involve cuts to Social Security.
“The absolute last thing we should do in 2013 — at the very moment that Social Security has become the principal lifeline for millions of our seniors — is allow the program to begin to be dismantled inch by inch,” Warren said recently on the Senate floor, announcing her support for a bill that would expand the program.
Liberals say Social Security is one example of how Democrats are likely to face sustained pressure in coming months to move in a more populist direction on a host of issues.
Many people, myself admittedly included, thought Hillary Clinton was a lock for the 2008 nomination. I specifically remember a family member asking me what I thought of Barack Obama beating her to which I replied, something along the lines of, "no chance." Thus, my career with the Psychic Friends Network came to a halt.
Can lightening strike twice and deny Mrs. Clinton the nomination a second time?
Sorry for my absence in recent days, family time on Thanksgiving takes precedence. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
A reader sent this in and I think it's worthy of a discussion. Since 2008 and 2012, many voters have complained that the current presidential debate system, spearheaded by the Commission on Presidential Debates, is a "closed process" which excludes candidates outside the two major parties. Several ideas have been tossed around but here is, as described by the author, Zak Carter, a "4 point plan to restore open and honest debates in 2016 and let alternative voices and ideas be heard."
- More celebrity moderators. Larry King and Thom Hartmann generated significant amounts of press for those debates, and we plan on bringing in more names the entire world knows and cameras can’t help but follow to moderate the debates in 2016. (Agents for both Jon Stewart and Phil Donahue were interested if we had been in NYC, as were Ricki Lake and Martin Sheen's agents had we been in LA.)
- Build a massive coalition. We intend to expand on the 57 media and organization sponsors F&E had for the 2012 debates,(These sponsors paid nothing, but helped spread word of the debates before they aired) and we believe that America’s presidential debates should be run by a diverse coalition that well represents America and the world rather than any single organization. In addition, RT America, Al Jazeera, Free Speech TV, Ora.tv, Link TV, Stitcher Radio, and CSPAN all broadcast the 2012 debates, and we’re going to work hard to get at least one of the major networks to join that list and more in 2016.
- In the summer of 2012 a handful of Gary Johnson supporters were able to get through to 2 companies and 1 organization (Phillips, BBH New York and the YWCA) that had been sponsors of the Commission on Presidential Debates and educate them about their debates being closed. We were late on the ball in trying to bring them on as sponsors of the debates in 2012, but we plan on really promoting this approach in 2016 to starve the CPD of their sponsorship dollars, and doing all we can to welcome these companies and organizations on as coalition members of the open debates. If we can get just one of them to join us, it will create an opportunity for a national news story.
- At least 10 debates. We’ll start the 2016 debates in the early summer, and space them out so that the last one takes place right before the CPD’s start. Last year viewers could vote online for their favorites, and I plan on expanding that to voting via text message, with one candidate going home after every debate until 2 are left at the last debate. The plan is to create demand for the candidates to be included in the CPD’s events. If they don’t allow them to their debate, the American people will become very aware of the fraud, and we’ll publicly invite the D/R candidates to our platform while we continue hosting debates with our remaining candidates on the same nights the CPD’s are held to include the VP’s. We would ignore them just as they’ve ignored the disenfranchised party candidates.
So, what do you think? Can something like this ever win the support and blessing of the major parties to participate in or does that even matter? Is 10 debates too many or not enough? What about celebrity moderators?
The ink is barely dry on this agreement and the debate around the world has begun as to whether this deal legitimately helps reign in the Iranian nuclear program or whether it's worth the paper it's printed it.
Report from the Washington Post:
Iran and six major powers agreed early Sunday on a historic deal that freezes key parts of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for temporary relief on some economic sanctions.
The agreement, sealed at a 3 a.m. signing ceremony in Geneva’s Palace of Nations, requires Iran to halt or scale back parts of its nuclear infrastructure, the first such pause in more than a decade.
The deal, intended as a first step toward a more comprehensive nuclear pact to be completed in six months, freezes or reverses progress at all of Iran’s major nuclear facilities, according to Western officials familiar with the details. It halts the installation of new centrifuges used to enrich uranium and caps the amount and type of enriched uranium that Iran is allowed to produce.
Iran also agreed to halt work on key components of a heavy-water reactor that could someday provide Iran with a source of plutonium. In addition, Iran accepted a dramatic increase in oversight, including daily monitoring by international nuclear inspectors, the officials said.
The concessions not only halt Iran’s nuclear advances but also make it virtually impossible for Tehran to build a nuclear weapon without being detected, the officials said. In return, Iran will receive modest relief of trade sanctions and access to some of its frozen currency accounts overseas, concessions said to be valued at less than $7 billion over the six-month term of the deal. The sanctions would be reinstated if Iran violates the agreement’s terms.
Not long after the accord was reached, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said the deal recognizes Tehran’s “right” to maintain an enrichment program.
Many politicians, including prominent Democrats such as Senator Chuck Schumer, have voiced skepticism. Report from CBS New York:
Schumer, D-N.Y., said he’s disappointed in the agreement “because it does not seem proportional.”
“Iran simply freezes its nuclear capabilities while we reduce the sanctions,” Schumer told reporters, including WCBS 880?s Monica Miller. “That is not a proportionate agreement.”
Schumer said he feels the agreement gives the Iranians hope that they will evetually produce a nuclear weapon.
“The disproportionality of this agreement makes it more likely that Democrats and Republicans will join together and pass additional sanctions when we return in December,” Schumer added. “I intend to discuss that possibility with my colleagues.”
Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., said he, too, is “extremely skeptical” of the agreement.
The deal is fairly complex as is the entire situation of handling the Iranian nuclear program. CNN has a breakdown of the agreement in bullet-point form available here if you'd like to familiarize yourself before commenting.
What do you make of this deal? Did the United states sell out Israel or is this a legitimate step forward for "peace in the Middle East?" Keep in mind, Iran is continuing with a nuclear enrichment program but at a slower rate and in a different manner.
Alternate question: Was this timed to switch the news cycle from Obamacare to something else in time for Thanksgiving dinner discussions?
A pretty open-ended question really. Consider this from all perspectives.
If Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, who would make a good second-in-command? She has certain appeals, and weaknesses, that a vice presidential pick could offset.
On the Republican side, the battle seems to be between establishment types and the Tea Party. . . . → Read More: Who Would Make a Good Vice President?
Keep in mind that Colorado propelled George W. Bush, in 2000 and 2004, and Barack Obama, in 2008 and 2012, to the White House. Colorado has been a state trending purple but a new poll from Quinnipiac shows the race to be anything but a lock for Hillary Clinton as of today.
Report . . . → Read More: Colorado poll shows Hillary losing to 2 GOP contenders
There aren't many winners at the end of this game show but that's the price you pay for entering the public spotlight. As you may know, Liz Cheney, daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, is running in the Republican primary in Wyoming to unseat the current Republican incumbent Senator, Mike Enzi. However, the plot . . . → Read More: Liz Cheney's public family feud
This is sort of a "have fun with it" post since it's pretty meaningless. However, Politico finds that given the bad press in recent weeks due to the Obamacare roll out, a new poll shows Mitt Romney would defeat the president if the election were held this month.
Report from Politico:
As more . . . → Read More: Poll: Mitt Romney would beat Barack Obama this month
Congressman Paul Ryan has been spending time in Iowa lately which has fueled further speculation he may step out of the Vice Presidential limelight and run for the top spot himself. However, Ryan believes the path to victory for Republicans must include passing some form of "immigration reform" in coming months.
Report from the . . . → Read More: Paul Ryan pushes for immigration bill before 2016