Op-Ed: The Debate Rules Need to Be Enforced


Photo Courtesy of: time.com

I think it is safe to say that the fly that landed on Mike Pence’s head was the star of the night.

While this debate was heads and tails better than the debate that occurred last week between presidential candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden, the vice presidential debate still left something to be desired. 

Both the vice president candidates talked more about their platforms than the previous presidential debaters did. However, the number of questions that both parties evaded was particularly concerning. 

Vice President Mike Pence would not answer if there will be a peaceful transition of power if he and President Donald Trump lose the election. Sen. Kamala Harris avoided answering if the Democrats would pack the courts if the nomination of judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court goes through. 

Both did not answer about the health of their running mates or what would happen if they had to take over as President.

Considering America is 26 days away from the election, voters should be getting answers to these important questions in order to make an informed decision on who they want to vote for. 

While I understand that both candidates went through preparations before the debate, the people of the United States want to hear the important answers to these questions and not their pre-planned talking points as they usually were not relevant to what was being asked of them.

Additionally, the Commission on Presidential Debates needs to start enforcing the rules that their candidates agree to prior to the start of the debate. 

While there was not as much interrupting as there was in the prior Presidential debate, the number of instances that the candidates talked longer than their allotted speaking time was infuriating. 

Each candidate should have an equal amount of time to speak and answer questions and should not take up another candidate’s time. It was especially irritating when one candidate went over time and did not even answer the question that they were asked. 

Interrupting and going over time is not a debate strategy and should not be treated as one. 

Regardless of party position, more Americans should be outraged by these displays as it is not letting them learn much about each candidate equally and fairly, which is what the debates are meant to do.

The moderator is there for a reason. They should not have to plead with candidates to stop talking or interrupting the other candidate. Both parties should respect each other more and especially the moderator as they are there to help the debate run smoothly. This blatant lack of respect is not at all helping the evident divide in our country. If anything, it’s encouraging it even more.

However, I was impressed by Harris’s handling of Pence’s interruptions and personal attacks. She handled herself with dignity and did not let him take over her time too much, which is the sign of being a strong leader. 

Instead of throwing personal attacks when someone disobeys the rules during the debate, the candidates really should remain calm and collected, and I am glad to see that she did not retaliate against Pence in any way that would have appeared out of line to an undecided voter. 

Additionally, in regards to more rule breaking, it was also infuriating to see Second Lady Karen Pence come onto stage without a mask on while Sen. Kamala Harris’s husband Doug Emhoff came onto the stage with one on. 

Considering everything that has been happening with COVID-19 in Washington, D.C., as well as the CPD having a rule about masks must be worn by the audience in the debate center, Ms. Pence  should have been following the agreed-upon rules. 

Instead, she made it seem that the rules don’t apply to her, which does not send a good message to the rest of the country.

The next 26 days have the likelihood of being the most wild days prior to any Presidential election, specially with the possibility of the second Presidential debate not even occurring. Both parties should not be using the debate stage to further stir up negative feelings amongst the American people.

We need to hold our candidates responsible for not following the rules.