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The problem with US-style TV election debates is that they aren’t debates. As any undergrad debater can tell you, a public debate is structured as follows:
1. A motion is agreed.
2. Speakers select (or are told) whether they’re pro or anti.
3. Opposing speakers get time-limited slots to put their case.
Interruptions are banned.
4. The lead speaker for each camp sums up.
5. The floor votes.
The ill-mannered ad-hominem squabbles inflicted on viewers in the name of democracy are playground games. They’re not debates. I’ve yet to meet anyone who has sat through an entire one without switching over in disgust.
Presumably, in our soundbite culture, an orderly airing of the issues is too much to hope for. In that case, why not dispense with these farcical so-called debates and just decide the election with “TD-inder” the new, Tinder-style ‘swipe left, swipe right’ voting app.
Vote airbrushed for a new tomorrow!
Seán Mac Cann
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