Last night’s debate was anything but ‘presidential’. The only candidate who could be characterized as ‘the winner’ wasn’t even on the stage. It was Jo Jorgensen, the Libertarian Party nominee, who saw a surge in Google searches for information about her. Apparently, people are realizing that it would be better to have an adult as their president.
What I’m hoping for now is that her campaign will seize this opportunity to make a sort of director’s cut of the debate. I imagine it with three panels (showing close-ups of Trump, Biden, and Jorgensen) instead of two. As each question is asked, after the other two candidates have finished plumbing previously unexplored depths of petulant incoherence, Jo calmly answers it as she would have if the Commission on Presidential Debates had bothered to invite her to share the stage.
Even though it’s probably too late to affect the current election, there are a few positive outcomes that could result from such a move:
- For Jorgensen, it would be a chance for her to explain her positions on the issues in a context where they would be most memorable: direct, point-by-point comparison to the positions (if you can call them that) of the two ‘major’ candidates.
- For voters, it would be a chance to hear some alternatives to ‘business as usual’ (i.e., two ‘major’ candidates arguing over which of them will get the chance to deprive you of your money, and how they plan to use that money to further deprive you of your liberty).
- For other ‘minor’ candidates, it would be a demonstration that technology increasingly makes it less important who actually gets invited to stand on the stage during a debate. The point of a debate is to allow candidates to be seen and heard ‘side by side’, to make comparisons easier. It used to be that the only practical way to make that happen was to put them in the same place at the same time, to answer the same questions. As people become more comfortable with virtual and asynchronous presentations, that’s no longer the case.
It’s an opportunity that I hope Ms. Jorgensen doesn’t pass up.