The integrity of the country’s political system is on the line.
the National Institute of Civil Discourse at the University of Arizona has just come out with guidelines for debaters, the debate audience and, importantly, the moderators, that need to be heeded. Most of the guidelines are simple and obvious: Debaters should be respectful of others, answer the questions asked, and stand against incivility; audience members should be respectful, not create disturbances, and listen to those speaking.
The key, though is the moderators. The Institute’s guidelines ask moderators to address uncivil behavior by calling it out; enforce debate rules equally; hold candidates accountable for truthfulness and integrity; treat candidates equally when it comes to complexity of issues and debate rules; and be respectful in interacting with the candidates.
debates need to be more than infotainment, offering a serious exploration of candidate’s positions, beliefs, and ability to govern. That puts a burden on the candidates, on the audience in the hall, and on the moderators. For the sake of America’s ability to govern itself, they all need to rise to the occasion. The NICD guidelines are a start.