The man is slimier than any snake or eel, creepier than any circus clown, more disgusting than anything my cat has ever thrown up, and yet he is being given legitimacy by some half of this nation. The “man”, of course, is none other than he-who-blows-his-own-horn, Don Trump, aka da trumpeter. “What now,” you ask. Now he has decided that he does not want a moderator for the debate scheduled next Monday (9/26), and specifically, does not want Anderson Cooper as a moderator, claiming he is “unfair”.
For starters, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) sponsors and produces debates for the United States presidential and vice presidential candidates and undertakes research and educational activities relating to the debates. The candidates do not determine the scope and sequence of the debates, nor do they set the rules. Neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton has a vote in the matter of how the debates will be conducted. Trump is aware of that, and thus his call for a debate with no moderator is nothing more or less than Trump setting the stage for saying the debate was “unfair” later in response to the criticism his performance next Monday is certain to garner.
Why does Trump want a moderator-less debate? To answer that question, we need to look at the role and purpose of the moderator. The moderator introduces the candidates, asks the questions, but most importantly, holds the candidates to the set time limits and attempts to keep them from straying off topic. In other words, he/she keeps the debate civil and informative, at least in theory. Given that, one can easily see why Mr. Trump would prefer a debate sans moderator.
First, he does not like questions that he cannot answer, such as questions about what his policies would be and how he plans to go about implementing them. He only wishes to field questions that open the door for him to expound on how “wonderful, smart and successful” he is.
He also does not like to give his opponent an opportunity to speak. In keeping with his ultra-narcissistic personality, he believes that his is the only voice, the only opinion that should be heard. To this end, there is no doubt that he would spend the entire hour interrupting and talking over Ms. Clinton, thus ensuring that the viewers would come away without having heard a single thought from Ms. Clinton. In the 2008 vice-presidential debate, Sarah Palin’s tactic was much like Trump’s … whenever she faced a subject that could put her on unstable ground, she did a quick pivot and went with a well-rehearsed talking point. So picture Trump, being asked about his position on how he would go about fixing the nation’s infrastructure, responding with “We’re gonna build a big, beautiful wall!”
The moderators for Monday’s debate will be CNN’s Anderson Cooper, ABC’s Martha Raddatz, NBC News’ Lester Holt, and Fox News’ Chris Wallace, with C-SPAN’s Steve Scully serving as a backup moderator. All of these are well-respected, seasoned journalists who can be counted on to understand the issues and to treat each candidate with respect and impartiality. None are known for being unfair or biased. The claim that they will be “unfair” to Trump is rooted, perhaps, in Trump’s definition of the word “fair”. Trump will only consider an interviewer to have been fair to him if that interviewer, or in this case moderator, does not ask him about any controversial topic from his past, does not ask him for any details or specifics about which he has no knowledge, and allows him to dominate the entire debate. So, by his very definition of the word ‘fair”, no moderator can ever be fair to Trump.
In recent years, I have found the presidential debates to be of little or no value to the viewing public. I do not watch debates, but instead read the transcript the next day, which enables me to concentrate on what was said, rather than be distracted by the ranting, facial contortions, and rudeness that has become the mainstay of all political debates. But the vast majority of people do watch them, and their “take-away” is much affected by the personalities of the candidates rather than the substance. If, in fact, there is any substance.
I think some changes are needed to the structure of the debates. I would like to see the candidates told that as part of the rules of the debate, no interruptions will be tolerated. They will have an opportunity for a rebuttal. I would like to see them told that they are to answer the question asked, not talk about the other candidate. Then I’d like to see the people running the debate cut their microphones if they break those rules.
The purpose of the debates is for the voting public to see and hear the candidates put forth their qualifications, their ideologies, and their platforms. The purpose is not to see and hear the candidates mock, name-call, and insult their opponents. If I want to see a fight, I can always turn to WWW, or just watch the kids playing in my backyard. If I spend an hour of my life watching a presidential debate, I want to come away feeling that it was an hour well-spent, an hour in which I learned something about the candidates that will help me make a responsible decision in November. Sadly, that has not been the case for many years now. As it stands, I believe the debates are a huge waste of both time and money, and at my age, I cannot afford to lose an hour of my life to watch da trumpeter toot his own broken horn.