tv Future of Campaign Debates at City Club of Cleveland CSPAN August 23, 2019 10:04am-11:06am EDT
c-span.org or listen live on the go using the free c-span radio app. in the wake of the recent shootings in el paso, texas, and dayton, ohio, the house judiciary committee will return early from the summer recess to markup three gun violence prevention bill which is include banning high capacity magazines, restricting firearms by those deemed from the court to be a risk to themselves and preventing individuals from misdemeanor hate crimes from purchasing a gun. live coverage begins wednesday, september 4 at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span and c-span.org and if you're on the go, listen to our live coverage using the free c-span radio app. >> next state debate commission officials and political scientists discuss the future of political debates. this event was hosted by the city club of cleveland. t's about an hour.
>> good afternoon and welcome to the city club of cleveland. i'm christine merit, president of the ohio association of broadcasters and a board member of the ohio debate commission. i am pleased to introduce today's forum, a conversation on the emerging role of statewide debate commissions. the ohio association of broadcasters is the association of local radio and television stations here in ohio and we've been involved with the ohio debate commission since its inception last year with many stations around the state airing the gubernatorial and u.s. senate debates organized by the commission last fall. political debate has been an intrigual part of the american political process at all levels and yet over the last decade, debates between candidates seeking political office has declined. this is not for lack of effort, as community and civic groups, including the city club as well
as television stations and other media organizations have organized debates only to have candidates, often incumbents turn down invitations refusing to debate their opponents or desiring highly choreographed debates in front of their supporters. in 2006, the city club famously uninvited two gubernatorial candidates after their refusal to participate in an unscripted debate. this debate over debates, so to speak, has gained momentum. the proliferation of social media, cable news and other online platforms has given candidates opportunities to connect with audiences in ways that debates used to provide. furthermore, when it comes to debates, there often is no agreed upon authority, no shared sense of what best practices are, and no clear idea as to what debates ought to look like or strive to accomplish. all things we've seen in the
recent debates among democratic candidates for the president of the united states. in an effort to preserve political debates as part of our democratic process, several states have created debate commissions with the goal to convene high quality debates that play a substantive role in informing citizens about issues and canada ditsdz on the ballot. -- candidates on the ballot. in 2018, the ohio debate commission was formed joining indiana, utah and washington as states with this type of statewide collaboration. how are they working and what should the future of debates look like? we have assembled a panel of national experts to discuss these questions. and guiding today's conversation is city club c.e.o. dan. he was the organizing force behind the ohio debate commission and served on the commission board. he's appointed c.e.o. of the city club in 2013 after many years as a member, volunteer,
and frequent moderator. a cleveland transplant, he's also an award-winning journalist, a former high school teacher and a graduate of u.c. berkeley's graduate school of journalism. i now turn the form over to you. >> thank you, ms. merit. thank you so much. so thank you all for joining us today. this is a conversation about fundamentally a sort of foundational aspect of our democracy which is why we're having the conversation. i want to tell who you is on the panel. next to me is dr. elizabeth banion with the indiana debate commission, a board member there. she's also a professor for two decades of american politics at indiana university in south bend and she also hosts "politically speaking" on wnit, a weekly affairs television program. next to her from the world of television, harry boomer, no stranger to cleveland audiences. he's a anchor and reporter with
channel 19, woio, also the anchor of cw-43 focus which is a local public affairs program. he's also the immediate past president of cleveland's chapter of the national association of black journalists. dr. richard davis is next to him, he teaches political science and runs the soffs of civil engagement of brigham young university of utah and is the co-founder of the utah debate commission. and john green rounding out our panel is currently -- he's everything political but currently happens to be the interim president of the university of akron because he didn't have enough to do running the bliss institute of applied politics at the university of akron and been there a number of years and been a pew research fellow and a go-to source for commentary on all things political for local journalists and "national journal"ists as well. please join me in welcoming our panel. [applause] of a democratic primary.
somewhere between 20 and 30 candidates officially in the race. i want to throw it out as a general discussion and hear from all of you. we're in the mid of a political primary, the likes of which the democratic party hasn't seen ever, somewhere between 20 and 30 candidates who are officially in the race and somewhere around 20 candidates who get to actually be in the debates that we're watching. exciting thing is i e people do seem to care about debates. there seems to be some appetite for them. if we think about the first night of the first debate, 15 million tuned in with another 9 million online. second night, 18 million. it was a drop off in the second debate but we still saw millions of people tune in to watch these things. i think we also see that we struggle to know what to do with 20 candidates or 10 candidates on stage. balancing the need for public information with the ability to
have so many candidates on stage simultaneously is difficult. i think the first debate showed us that people were frustrated with the cross chatter and sometimes it was hard to see the candidates. debates, theund of moderators cut in so much so meaningful discussion between the candidates was also interrupted. there seems to be an need to figure out a better format. dan: what do the debates tell you about this data debates? >> i would first like to say that debates do matter. it is the movie version of the book that people do not read. dan: [laughter] >> it is our country's way of saying -- here are the candidates that want to vy for your vote to represent you in this living, breathing democracy. and i do the air quotes with
some trepidation, quite honestly. but i think they give us and people watching an opportunity who sayso believes or watch. and sometimes what they say and what they believe are not but atrily the same least it gives us their perception of what they want us to hear about what they believe and who they are. with as many people as we have seen in the last debates, it is difficult to give them a voice. find important for us to every way we possibly can to make sure that everyone that wants to say something is hurt. and let the people decide. for theit is a forum people and if we can do that, find a comfortable way to do that and effective come i think america will be better off. dan: richard davis, these comments point to the fact that in terms of the state of debates, we don't know what format is best. these debates we have seen so
far have been widely critiqued for being a mess. that is a technical term, by the way. that debates can get out of hand. when you have 10 or more candidates on the stage, it is any of themr really to be able to say something of substance for any length of time and that is the sort of thing that should give us pause when we talk about debates. we should talk about how we can arecture a debate so they meaningful to the candidates and the voters. i think what the debates we have seen so far have shown is that the debates that take place a year and a half before an election takes place may not be as meaningful because there is a process that has not
happened yet. and it should happen. and also, what we have seen from this is many organizations have created and organized these debates and statewide debate thanssions are really more just media organizations. and perhaps what we need is to have an association of state debate commissions or an entity to organize primary debates so they are done differently. not done just to increase an audience. not done just to increase ratings for a particular broadcaster. other purposes as well. they serve the voters and the candidates and the media as well. i am not sure what entity that is -- no one has stepped forward. happens and the debates changed way for make that will help everyone. what does this
tell us about them making a difference? >> the debates do matter in different ways but the biggest impact of debates for those that watch debates which is sometimes millions of voters and sometimes less is that they have a higher level of information about the candidate and the issues being debated. you have to remember that for a lot of voters, information comes from visual cues as well as spoken cues. there is an element of the which in these debates matters to a lot of people and influences opinions. many voters say their preferred source of information is a debate. but we cannot ignore what comes after the debates. the news coverage and the narrative that develops. that will affect many more people than those that actually watch the debate. how much do debates matter in terms of election outcomes?
unclear. just because people get information does not mean they will be persuaded one way or another. fact, partisans on both sides get different information so it is a draw. ,ut there is some evidence particularly in races where there is not a strong incumbent, that debates do matter, they matter to percent or three percentage points in the process. they can build momentum or stop momentum as we go through the primary process. , there is of course the interpretation about how people look or what they may have said or not said which plays into that factor as well. i really do think debates matter but we have to remember they are not the only factors that influence public opinion. of the important things is that many people have strong partisan views. the primary debates may be
particularly influential compared to general election debates. l in a highly polarized electorate, with close races, it could matter. and the idea that it is not just how -- it is not just what -- al gore and nick sim. al gore sighing, which may have him against george bush. it can matter at the margins but it can also give a candidate more funding or media attention. debates often times it will give a candidate and opportunity to get their soundbite on tv. they will get a message out so it will be played and people
hear the same message over and over again. it is sort of like political theater where people will do what they feel will get the most bang for their buck because they don't have a lot of time to get deep into the weeds. and i'm not sure many people would want them to get into the weeds but they need to find a way to have an immediate impact. and because of that, they may end up truncating their message. it may not be the message they want to tell but given the state of debate and democracy, that may be their only choice. i think it would be important for us to find a way to give those truly dedicated to the proposition of wanting to represent the people, and opportunity to voice their opinions more freely and for a longer period of time so they could get more in depth about what they really mean so we can have a better sense of who they are and what they stand for. examples ofll seen
where a candidate is asked a question about education and they don't answer it but talk about health care. is for them to get that message out on that. in the context of the debate, it is kind of strange. >> i have seen that happen too many times. were one ofs, you the cofounders of the utah debate commission. i wanted to give you an opportunity to tell a little about that story because in this moment, it seems when we are talking about these nationally primary debates, it is an important reminder that they matter at every level. and the statewide debates may have more impact than the national debates. that is very true and that is
why we formed at utah debate commission. to provide attention to those races that seem to be lost when you are talking about a presidential race. our gubernatorial race happens in a presidential election year so it is easy for the presidential campaign to basically wipe away all of the interest in anything else. we felt we had to put that back on center stage. we have a governor's race. races. senate we have congressional races. all of those are actually more important in the sense that these are the people that directly represent you. glad to see the statewide debate commissions happen because what they are doing is putting into the limelight these races that, unfortunately in the nationalization of politics, will get lost. the commissions also change the balance of power between the people and the campaign.
the general public does not truly understand, when they see a debate in a place that is not a state that has a debate commission, i don't think they truly understand how the debate came to be. can you pull back the curtain? >> candidates that refuse live audience debates is is it a debate at all -- often with extreme media and public pressure come it will go to individual stations and the incumbent will negotiate the terms of the debate. or will specify all of the terms. and what we see is very weak iferators with no follow-up they don't answer the question. and little opportunity for a todidate -- the candidates question one another. and that is where debate
commissions are key. the commission can post all of those gubernatorial and senate races and they set the standards. they set the rules of the debate. take it or leave it. in the case of the indiana debate commission, everyone has decided they could not leave it because that is the debate that will be carried on all of these commercial networks as well as the public broadcasting systems. if you can get all of the media together to broadcast the debate, you take away the power from one station that wants to cover it to capitulate to whatever the strongest candidate, all -- often the incumbent, what they say. the other thing we know from a study by kim from political bush- st from the spiny debate is that the
can matter. people watching the debate on won, andht kerry had those that watched another station thought bush when they. i having it broadcast on a lot of different broadcasts and on , you get a more generalized sense and you don't have just one commentators controlling the narrative. of the the plaintiff political process itself, one of the things that we learned through creating the ohio debate commission was that there was a real service to campaigns in providing this because part of the reason they would stipulate all of those things and comment
to tv stations with certain terms is they did not have faith that the debate would be high quality or fair. >> you are right. you have to realize that a campaign looks at a debate differently than voters or journalists. for a campaign, it is an opportunity to persuade people. politics, they may prefer all things being equal rather than something biased in their favor but there is the danger that it could be biased against them. and and stood to -- to have an institution with well-established roles would make sure the messages get out to a broad population. that is very attractive. whole lot of work they do not have to do. that is why i applaud these debate commissions, that institutionalizes debates so candidates will immediately
think --we have to go to the debate, how do we get ready? rulesosed to what are the and who gets to invent them? ,> in utah, that was my fear particularly incumbents would say -- i don't want to be a part of it. they did decide they wanted to be a part of the debate because they perceived it was fair, neutral, outside of a party, he and therefore it would be fair to them to participate in. is theyhe drawbacks began to turn down other debates and some people criticized us for basically monopolizing the debates. we don't want to do that. but it was good they were saying -- you, however, are an organization we do want to be a part of.
>> utah is the only one of these four efforts that have state funding. >> yes. >> congratulations. [laughter] can you talk about that? the big issue was will the state impose some sort of string that -- and that has not happened. can it happen in the future? it is possible but then i think we have to reassess. so far they have not placed in strings and i think it is because we do more than just debates. we actually educate. we have an education program where we try to integrate the debates into high school curriculum. and universities are involved in our debates. they serve a purpose that the state wants to promote. >> i have a question for you. you have been involved with the
debates but also covered them as a journalist. as a journalist, how do you see the debate process? in progress. i am not the mild-mannered reporter from the daily planet. i -- as an individual that considers himself fairly well informed and involved whose tax dollars go to pay the salaries of the representatives, i want to see them talk to me and explain to me who they are and what they believe. toon't want the incumbent hide behind his or her income been and not speak to the people. affront tot is an the democracy. if you cannot persuade me and give me your position come you should not be in office. you should not hide behind your title, your office, or your
money. there is a mechanism that says -- come and let me hear what you had to say and if you don't show up, you don't show up. and if you do not show up coming you should not be voted for in my humble opinion. we should continue to impress upon candidates from those that are well-known to those that are less well-known, that it is important to have your voices heard. i am all about inclusion. and i think debates give people an opportunity to have their voices heard and sometimes, because they do not perform well the theatrics of television or radio, some people win on the radio but lose on tv. that shows the perception that people have based on what they see or hear. it is important for everyone that want to represent the people to be heard. that is where i come down. >> you just said you were all about inclusion. i have a broader question.
when we are-- talking about statewide offices are congressional offices about third parties. libertarian or green party candidates. sometimes, they are depending on access to the debate to give oxygen to their campaign. and sometimes, third-party candidates are more serious than others. nation, there have been third-party candidate that became the governor of minnesota, for example but it does not happen often. how do you feel about third party candidates? systemink the two-party is not a very representative system. i think the voices shall be heard and let the people decide who they want to believe and who they want to follow. the third-party candidates may not often have the money or the name recognition but that should not preclude them from at least having their voice heard or their faces seemed and the message considered. , in america, the
idea of democracy is that everyone counts. everyone matters. and if we do not have that happening, america is diminished, ohio is diminished and i as an individual am diminished. >> that is a very good question because we dealt with that in utah. how you thread the needle between a candidate who just wants to use it you are debate as his or her campaign. and those that are serious. a have done that by setting threshold. a threshold that is not so large that it would cut out a candidate who has the potential to already has some basis for support and to go further but does cut out the candidate that is not a serious candidate. two result, we have had third-party candidates who have participated in our debates. and it has come to some success.
we have been able to get this candidates the opportunity to speak but at the same time, you have to have some basis of support. for us, it is to express and. it it is -- >> one thing that perhaps they are doing right is to defend the thresholds and start them small. the number of donors. the amount of public support. so you can win no a large -- innow a large field. in indiana, we have a threshold where you need to earn 2% of .ecretary of state's vote people vote for your candidate and then you get on the ballot. we almost always have a
libertarian candidate in addition to a democrat and republican because they have qualified for ballot access. a fine line. athave had primary debates the lower-level. you may have six or seven people in for u.s.ir voice congress and they sign their name on a piece of paper without a facebook page or website. some of the organizations i work with have decided -- we want to put in just at least n asterisk that we reserve a right to determine if you are an act of candidate. do you have any filing? evidence of an active campaign? .o get around that the three or four that are seriously running, you cannot hear what they stand for or compare them in a meaningful way. >> free speech.
because of that, we can oftentimes get the worst democracy money can buy. i think it is important that we have some measure, some metric where we can get people involved in the process. dollar, $20. when to know that there is someone out there who believes what you believe and support you. we have to be -- i believe it is in a- it is important democracy to have people talking to each other and not at each other. include as a way to many voices as possible. i know i sound like a broken record. >> you seleka patriot and i am serious. speaking -- you sound like a patriot and i am serious.
audience remind our that terri blumer is anchor and reporter for channel 19 news. he is also the immediate past president of the cleveland chapter of the national association of black journalists. with us is well is dr. richard davis. from the office of civic engagement at brigham young university. dr. elizabeth, project director for the american democracy project at university of indiana south bend. , dr. john green, interim the center for applied politics. now, we invite the q&a. if you'd like to tweak to a question, please tweet it at the city club.
our intern is holding the microphone. >> he mentioned the phenomenon of debates starting as early as they started. we had a lot of debates scheduled this year. a few years ago, we had debates scheduled ever about the party. i don't know if it is real or just something i perceive, that the presence of a lot of debates gavve republican candidates every year to have opportunities to repeat and strengthen talking points against the other side. they seemed to use that pretty effectively so that everybody knew what they were saying about the candidates from the other side. attackingd to do less each other. if that's what i see, or the product of my own political background, or if that's what's happening, or if
it can be a strength democrats choose to start doing. i would say it is common in a primary setting for candidates to attack one another because they are competing for the same base, not the other base -- not the general election base. that's why i think we're seeing the democrats doing what they are doing. we talked about cannibalism going on. barack obama as the most popular president recently, but what they are doing is trying to carve out a base of support within their particular primary electorate. to do that, you have to elbow out somebody doing that, trying to appeal to the same base. time, both parties,
and we saw this last time, have atshow they are the best attacking the other party's nominee. in this case, it is going to be donald trump. would pretty much a knew it was going to be hillary clinton. we have to prove they will be the most effective at that. a lot of that is the first goal, which is to take out those closest ideology so they can gain their supporters. >> there certainly the case. with the republicans in 2016, we see it for the democrats. certain common things emerge. they are seen as effective. it prepares the nominee for some good arguments. >> good afternoon.
this is a very important topic. i have a question about the role of the commission. foryou responsible marketing the debates and making sure marginalized groups who usually don't get much attention paid to them know about the debates. i think those african-americans, hispanics, i don't know if you have a budget. i don't know how that works. if one of yourg responsibilities is to make sure our democracy truly works, and as many people as possible find out when the debates will be happening. thingslutely one of the that we do with the indiana have them allwe do this. voters are questioning it online. we have a questionnaire about
the voters. one of the things we added was optional. we have had our live debate of people asking questions. not one of the most diverse states in the nation, but it is more diverse than it sometimes looks like. remain an objective to reach out to organizations that tended to serve the historically black. i think we should do more of that, and not certain segments of the state. it is better for democracy. that is something that we want to see more and more. >> as i said earlier, we
attempted to make sure information about the debates gets out to all schools. so in all areas of the states. also in terms of questions, we look at those questions and try and make sure we have a diversity of perspectives, do points, and issues. that's the question each candidate is going to have to face. >> there's another piece to that question that you asked that has to do with how the debate commissions are funded. the case of the ohio debate commission is they were funded through grants from philanthropic organizations. it never would have happened without massive contributions from the partner organizations, the media organizations partnered to the commission. the same is true in indiana and utah. there's defendants on the involvement of it.
>> that's the diversity that we celebrate. you have a lot of heart and is at the table. you are much more likely to have a fair and open process than to rely on one organization. >> one of the things i like to see is having people at the table at the beginning and not just sending out a campaign to just say you come. there's times in the news when we have to decide what kind of stories to cover and from what perspective. it is important someone that looks like me, looks like her, and the diversity of america is sitting at the table. >> that has been something we have been conscious of when it comes to our board of directors. as to want people as much have that diversity. putting together these debates and deciding what questions are
selected and how the debate will run. question about congressional races where there is an incumbent and opponent. invitations an extended and the income it is not in their interest to debate, do you feel the forum or a place like this city club might go ahead and have the debate with the opponent who wants the opportunity to debate and announces at the beginning that the next invitation was extended and they chose not to participate? we haven't had that issue with the debate commission. i also work with of the league of women voters in the project to host congressional debates and state legislative debates, and the mayoral school board president your. all of the debates on the ballot. we do have one congressional
incumbent who does not want to participate in any land audience debate. if we have a libertarian, we go ahead with the broadcast debate, whether live audience or studio, which is 2 candidates. there's a beginning, middle, and end. all three candidates were invited. we have not had an empty chair debate or did if somebody cancels, we may do it as a discussion with candidates. it can get dicey. >> we have not had that situation. we had one candidate race attorney general in the states. it does raise questions about whether media organizations would participate or not if that happened. our rule is that we go ahead. we can go ahead, and media
organizations can decide whether intereststo based on and a single candidate discussion or legal problems. >> i concur with his point of view. you go ahead and move ahead. i don't think any single candidate should determine what i see and hear. if you don't want to be there, that's on you. you, you chose not to come. if you chose not to come, you should let the public make its decision as to whether or not they matter. when you don't show up, you are saying you don't matter. i will not be able to speak you in an open forum, live audience, if you don't think i'm important enough to show up. i will make a decision about you as my representative in the state house or the u.s. congress. it's important that we hold with
elected officials accountable. , i think don't show they are cowards. up to ben't show heard representing the people, you are a coward. show up. [applause] piece of what is driving the decision incumbents make is the gerrymandered history that is so safe for many ohio representatives. there's very little incentive to debate at all. do you foresee those dynamics ,hifting with the next census where we can lose a seat in ohio, but the districts will be redrawn under a new process? >> in ohio, the new process is an experiment. i think we will have more
competitiveness as a result. i hope so. there's something really important that the dates are only part of a broader political process. the availability of media coverage is part of it. campaign finance is part of it. all of these things interact in a complicated way. candidate in one part of the district faces a different set of incentives than someone who is competitive. that goes back to one of the points made earlier, which is democracy ultimately thrives on competition. that means we have to have a lot of candidates, a lot of people talking to other -- talking to each other to make it work. up a very interest -- you opened up a very interesting point. taking the state means out of the time of the nationals. the way to do that would be to
coordinate the major channels to take different states at the same time. would listen to ohio, indiana would listen to indiana. down below andr not mix them up on a national level. my real question is how can we in the audience participate by giving ideas that we want debated? right now, we got three big ideas that they think of as hot buttons. we would like to know what to do with opiates, with slave children. they don't care so much about green new deal. how do you get to people that are posing the question to open up? you would have to warn the debaters, because it would not be fair to pop it off of the top of their heads. >> we have a process where we invite the public to ask questions, to propose questions.
what we will do, take a look at sure wesues and make have the diversity of issues being represented. we don't want the debate to be particularly about an issue. it means we will begin with a half-dozen different topics in the course of one hour. means the public has a role in that process. they are determining what questions we are asking. then we don't just use the question in a generic way, we will typically go back to the person and say you must the question, you come to our studio, you do it. you go to the university. you ask the question. you actually face the candidate and ask the question. so the public knows it isn't some group of elites making the
decision about what issues will be discussed, it is the public making the decision. >> there's some exciting new technology that may help with this. we do the same as utah, but open debate with the coalition. there's a lot of new technology where voters can not only pose questions, but also raise them and vote on them. they find many more people will vote on questions that actually pose a question. using some of these technologies will be an exciting new way to get more people involved. another thing we have talked about is extending the period of debate for the livestream so as the questions come on through social media and twitter, you do an extra half an hour centered on these budgets that came in as people were listening to the candidates, giving voters an opportunity to follow up with candidates.
exciting ideas, giving more candidates control, instead of media moderators and allowing them to cross examine one another with a test like clock that age get the same time so theyde to use it don't have to waste time droning on about something they don't care about. they can focus in and give more details on things they know most about and care most about. there are new exciting formats the commissions are discussing in the next two days. indiana.lly for it's about putting voters first. we're always thinking about new and better ways to do that. me, thes interesting to voters matter. it is important, because -- how many of you know where america ranks when it comes to the percentage of voting in the world?
122nd. that's pitiful. my mom used to say "that's pitiful." debates give people an opportunity to hear the message, to say "i want to be involved." they are important because they give people a voice. they give me an opportunity to hear what you believe, what you are saying, hopefully what you believe. we continuent having as many debates as weekend, here is many voices, so we can raise that very poor voter participation in this country. so we are not continuously exploiting our branded democracy to the rest of the world and not practicing it here in america. it is key we get involved and stay involved. >> let me point to what you said.
in utah, we have a geographically large state. each region has its own interests. by having debates in different includinghe state, peoplel issues, we tell it is not just about state issues or national issues, it's about what's going on in your region. we are attempting to represent a particular region of our state, which is not going to happen at the presidential level. it doesn't happen at the state level. feel likeople to particular interests in their particular area are represented by our debate commissioner. as the youngest person in this room, i'm 19, i go to college. how newlike to ask voters and young adult voters --
not just generally can get interested in politics, but how can they help specifically with debates and making sure younger voters can have their voices heard during debates? maybe you can talk about through social media. that has a generation really been built up and grown up on social media and new age of the internet. if you can talk about that. >> one of the things is if you want be to it be involved, you have to talk to me. with to talk to the issues important to me. you have to talk about the media i use. i'm wondering after having gone to the national association, of days, this for 4 reaches you a lot more than it does a lot of other people. we have to reach you where you
are, we have to talk to your issues. as you said before, you need a seat at the table at the beginning so it is not "we need to involve them." they are already involved from the beginning. that's the key. we have to speak your language. we had to address your issues. >> can you speak to the efforts of the utah commission with college students? >> we make sure our debates are not only on television, which is a medium for the people of a certain age, but also, they are live streamed so all ages will feel like they can be part of this. thank you for being here and participating in this. we also make sure that we live tweet the debates and encourage others to do the same. a we integrated social media into our debates very early on
in order to be able to do this great thing. we talk about how to reach out to young people. i was talking to my son a couple of days ago about this session, debates. he said you have to make them interesting to me to participate. how can we do that? this is a work in progress for us. that wewe make sure make these debates interesting to young people, not just those of us who are over a certain age -- over the hill, is what i should say. >> it was to make sure candidates have time, apart from the debate. place,r the debate takes there's a meeting with the students. with students.ng they can interact directly and off the record with candidates. i have spoken with them. they talk about the sessions.
it is very enlightening. sometimes, the candidates are for more engaging, far more open about themselves. sometimes kids say they were going to vote for them, but they will. others on a personal level, it is not someone. 4 statewide only debate collaborations. wherever you are in school, it is really hard for candidates to say no to a student group. candidates and politicians love to say yes to students, because they understand they are winning a voter for decades to come. i would say get actively involved in whatever group on your campus is doing that work. if there isn't a group on campus able to do that work, created group on campus able to do that work. >> the things done on my campus
is to hold a launch party. not only do those for the presidential races, but also the debate commission, the senate races. if you provide pizza, snacks, they will come. >> a political party. >> another question? >> just to tail coat on what the man brought up. other group that wants to participate more in our democracy than foreign-born people who have come here. have there been any efforts made to make the debates more accessible to those who are still struggling with the english language? >> that is a very good question. have not currently languagesng in other available with our debates. i think that would be an
interesting opportunity for a partnership. >> we have not done very much on that. i think that is great to do. fact thatinded of the when carl rose spoke here a couple of years ago, william mckinley's campaign literature was published in 27 different languages. different kind of gop. substantively, that issue of immigration comes up in the debates. it is important we tackle that. in terms of language accessibility -- >> in a political primary moment, where second languages are being used during the debates themselves. -- as a one-time college debater, i have trouble turning the debate to what we saw republican senator in 2016 and the democrats.
would be more useful to the public and candidates that the candidates were allowed more unfettered time to speak and reduce the role of the moderators to be mostly timekeeping? >> that's a great question. what we need to do is make sure we realize the candidates do have a purpose. we should allow them, when the purpose coincides with the purpose of voters, to be able to use that time to say what they want to say. time, we tried to have moderators who have license to be able to say to a candidate "you didn't answer that question, so i will ask it that's important to do. otherwise, you get speeches that go from there. and the voters are probably harmed. even though the candidate may
feel they did what they needed to do. we think both of those constituencies are important. the candidate sometimes needs to be reminded that it is for the voters to learn information. and the voters do have to listen to the candidates to say what they think is important. >> a little bit more time for candidates to speak, but will don't want a free-for-all to dominate the debates. to dominate the debates. so you need something to keep the candidates on task. i think a well-informed, well-versed moderator -- i'm prejudice, because i'm a moderator and i have done this, so i have to go on the side of adequate time for everyone. i think the steering the guides the vehicle. point, in classical states, there are a set of rules everybody knows.
those things the debate commission's done is established this set of rules in a different format. >> i think it will be interesting to see what happens, in terms of playing with additional formats. as a moderator, i enjoy when i can vote and follow-up when they haven't answered a question, but have the license to extend time. gottens like they have into something good and none of them have been able to finish their thought and really have that conversation. i also know that the annenberg center has the trading ideas. like the time clock. they give everybody the same time. muchwould determine how money they would spend on a particular answer knowing they might not have as much time at the end. if you have someone like joe biden biden being a front runner, and he is attacked, everyone will give them exactly the same time.
they also have another idea to keep the same basic format with the 92nd responses, 32nd rebuttals, but give people an opportunity to say twice in the debate they can suspend the rules and have 90 seconds to really respond to other people who have challenged them or talk more about something that isn't covered that was really important to them. people have suggested a variety of ideas, even having candidates challenge each other and the moderates take a backseat. we don't see that very often. it is something that would be interesting to experiment with. perhaps the lower-level dates first, then work their way up. >> dr. elizabeth banging, professor of political science and the american democracy project director, also host of politically speaking. with us on the panel, harry boomer, reporter for channel 19 news, and media tax president. member debate of black journalists.
richard davis, professor of political science and director of the office of civic engagement at brigham young university. and john green, interim president of university of akron and director of the institute of applied politics. and dan multum. this is been a form about the future of political debates, more or less doing our part to create a more perfect union. , the league of women voters of greater cleveland and the ohio debate commission. we welcome guests at the table hosted by a local community college. some are the voting age, as well. we are lucky to have all of you here. that brings us to the end of our forum. thank you analysts, members and friends of the city club. will you do me a favor and ring the gong as i say the following words? this forum is now adjourned. that was so gentle. [laughter] [applause]
campaign 2020 coverage. .- 2020 coverage pete buttigieg will be holding a conference at 6:35 eastern on c-span. a quick reminder that you can follow all coverage online at c-span.org and listen the free c-span radio app. >> saturday on book tv, in her latest book, an author looks at the challenges female arab and middle eastern journalists face while reporting. >> all of the authors were able to push through whatever barriers they had and right
openly and honestly about their deepest struggles. mind isy that comes in the one you mentioned. it is an account of grief and loss and it also reflects the state of the arab world today. this isn't an uplifting book. universityprinceton professor on race, gender and class in america. her most recent book is a letter to my son. >> the reality is i have to arm a set ofsimply with skills and intellectual tools that allow them to floors in school and ethics and values, but also a way to make sense of the hostility they encounter timesday from people at whose responsibility is to treat them as mm