In the red corner, Donald Trump and in the blue, Joe Biden: Let the debate begin
3 min read
fairly difficult
"A debate, to me, is a Public Service," Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday. "Joe Biden and I owe it to the American People!"
With many usual fixtures of campaigning upended by the coronavirus pandemic €" rallies, town halls, fundraisers, conventions €" President Donald Trump has been looking to beef up one of the few remaining pieces: The debates.

The Commission on Presidential Debates has scheduled three match-ups between Trump and former vice-president Joe Biden, the first set for 29 September. Noting that many states will have already begun early voting by then, the Trump campaign this month sent a letter to the commission asking that a fourth debate be added in early September €" or, barring that, that the final debate be moved up from 22 October.

"A debate, to me, is a Public Service," Trump tweeted on Thursday. "Joe Biden and I owe it to the American People!"

The commission rejected the request, insisting such a move was unnecessary.

The truth is that scheduling is way down the list of problems with presidential debates, in this election cycle or any other. Debates are indeed a public service, providing voters a rare opportunity to see the presidential contenders side by side and take their measure for an extended stretch of time in a high-pressure setting. But in practice, the events have degenerated into media spectacles, showcasing much that is wrong with both electoral politics and journalism.

Designed to maximise ratings €" and, increasingly, the number of viral moments €" the debates are light on meaningful discourse and heavy on ginned up conflict,…
The New York Times
Read full article