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DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » Democratic Primaries (Forum) » So let's look at the form...
Undecided 36%
Elizabeth Warren22%
Joe Biden13%
Bernie Sanders8%
Kamala Harris8%

Sun Jun 16, 2019, 09:22 AM

 

So let's look at the format and time allotment for the debates.

If they stick to the normal tv half hour format, there will be 22 minutes of material along with 8 minutes of commercials per 30 minutes.
So, in two hours, there will be 88 minutes of debate time.
That time will be shared by 10 candidates, 5 moderators (why so many?), and possibly some audience member questions live or via social media submissions.

So, here’s a scenario:
Moderator Rachel Maddow (known for her very long opening segments):
“So, before I get to our first question for one of the candidates, I think it’s quite pertinent and very relevant to look at the history of debate in our country, and for that matter on the planet. Did you know that in the Garden of Eden that Adam had quite a debate with the serpent about the type of apples 🍎 that were used in the tempting process. Should they be red delicious or what about green apples 🍏? Now, I myself, and my partner Susan prefer Granny Smith when baking pies for the holidays. And, yet, I digress. The true traditional role of a debate....

Moderator Lester Holt (NBC News)
“Um, Rachel, I know you are the new wunderkind, but as Senior member here, I thought I was supposed to take the lead. And besides that, you didn’t even introduce the candidates before you launched in on stuff that nobody...

Rachel:
“Actually, Lester, I won the raffle to take lead and it was agreed that we wouldn’t introduce all of the candidates because of time constraints and would just identify them with lower third graphics of their names when they speak.

Moderator Jose Diaz Balart (Univision)
“Ray-shell, about theez...we were assured that there would be closed captioning in Spanish across all networks..but my Aunt just called my cell phone complaining that she can’t understand anything you say and she’s wondering if that handsome Julián Castro will get as much time as all of the gringos or like all Latinos be shoved aside as usual”.

Moderator Savannah Guthrie
“Well, our producers are telling us it’s time for our first commercial break. We hope you are getting to really know the candidates positions on the issues”. Coming up, weather with Al and a cooking segment with the candidates. Wait, is that correct?....”

Moderator Chuck Todd
“ Hey...When do I get to ask an irrelevant Captain Obvious question that I’m known for”.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Elizabeth Warren

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Reply So let's look at the format and time allotment for the debates. (Original post)
Funtatlaguy Jun 2019 OP
brooklynite Jun 2019 #1
MineralMan Jun 2019 #2
Funtatlaguy Jun 2019 #3
MineralMan Jun 2019 #4
Sneederbunk Jun 2019 #5
Funtatlaguy Jun 2019 #6

Response to Funtatlaguy (Original post)

Sun Jun 16, 2019, 09:38 AM

1. News programs don't use the 22 min/30 min ratio.

 

If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Pete Buttigieg

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Response to Funtatlaguy (Original post)

Sun Jun 16, 2019, 11:24 AM

2. That's pretty funny right there.

 

But, let's take another look. Let's assume that they run the debates commercial-free, giving the 10 candidates the full 60 minutes of the hour. Well, 50, since moderator questions will take some of that time.

That means that each candidate is going to have just 10 minutes of time, total, to answer all of the questions. Because 100 divided by 10 is 10.

Let's say there are just ten questions in the entire debate. That would mean one-minute responses for each question. How substantive could a response be in just a minute. Where would the candidate have time to comment on some other candidate's response?

It's too many candidates in too little time.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #2)

Sun Jun 16, 2019, 11:29 AM

3. I've seen several candidates say that they are

 

practicing giving short concise answers.
For a lot of political people, than can be quite difficult,
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Elizabeth Warren

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Response to Funtatlaguy (Reply #3)

Sun Jun 16, 2019, 11:31 AM

4. I'm sure they are. It's going to be a real challenge.

 

Differentiating oneself from the others is going to be a tough thing to do in such a short time. Most speakers can offer up about 120-140 words in a minute. That's not much. It's sort of like writing Tweets, although you get more words.

I've written talks, speeches and remarks for people. They're almost always surprised at how little they can say in a given period of time.

Most recently, I helped someone with a TED talk. 18 minutes. Working very hard, we managed to get pretty much everything he wanted to say compressed into that time constraint, but it wasn't easy, while still holding the audience's attention and getting some zingers in there to make the talk memorable.

Writing short is much harder than writing long.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

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Response to Funtatlaguy (Original post)

Sun Jun 16, 2019, 12:10 PM

5. Suggestions to improve debates.

 

1. No venue. Should be held in TV studio. Good enough for JFK and Nixon.
2. No audience. I don't need crowd response or demonstrations.
3. No news celebrity questioners. Use academics or others who are qualified.
4. No commercials.
5. Candidates should leave their families at home.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Elizabeth Warren

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Response to Sneederbunk (Reply #5)

Sun Jun 16, 2019, 12:36 PM

6. All great suggestions.

 

I would add that topics should be varied and with specifics in the question.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Elizabeth Warren

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