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Commission On Presidential Debates

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Civil Rights, Voter Education & Registration, Voting Rights

Mission: Organize general election presidential and vice presidential debates

Programs: Organize, produce, finance and publicize the general election debates for candidates for president and vice president of the united states of america and other voter education activities.

Community Stories

11 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 3

Sept. 29, 2020 debate... disgusting & disgraceful for our country. I suspect that simple mic shut off will not be enough to deal with this candidate. He will likely shout to be picked up from other mics, as well as engage in all kinds of physical antics - crossing the room etc. He will find a way to be disruptive. I suggest employing a Plan A PLUS Plan B approach, or simply going with Plan B -- Plan A: I agree with above people on slightly longer initial time allowed plus brief rebuttal time (10 min may be too long). Cutting of mic will be necessary - along with timers for not only the candidates, but the tv audience as well. Otherwise there will be all kinds of complaints of subjective manipulation of the mics. Unfortunately, I think cutting the camera entirely actually deprives viewers of important info from candidates reactions to each other. Perhaps giving speaker full view with smaller window view of the silent candidate would still allow for this while helping all of us to focus on the speaker more easily. Fact checking ticker tape at bottom is a really good idea - most likely "untruths" could even be planned for ahead of time & preloaded for keeping up in real time. On screen tallying of "untruths" would also be helpful. It may actually be necessary to put a divider of some kind between candidates - to lessen interruptive noise, as well as line of sight, so as to help the speaker focus & be able to address the audience more effectively. Added to all this is Plan B: If plan A fails because one candidate is still able to bombard the process & chooses not to adhere to the exchange of time frames, he will still be allotted only a certain number of minutes in total, and when he reaches that total number of minutes his mic and camera will both be cut off and he will be escorted off the stage. The other candidate will then be allowed the rest of the remaining (equal) time unhindered in any way by his opponent. This would allow the remaining candidate to communicate with the audience in a focused manner, AND he would not feel he has to jump in any way he can to gain any chance of being heard in the moment - he will know that he can simply choose to let the brawler rant at length & he will still get his own time to address the issues & rebut the rant. He has the option to not react in the moment.

MY2Cents

Review from Guidestar

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

Even before the debacle of Tuesday evening, the presidential and vice-presidential debates were in dire need of restructuring. I propose to you that they should become proper debates, so that listeners learn what the candidates' positions actually are. Each candidate would get ten uninterrupted minutes to state his/her position on an assigned topic, to be followed by another two uninterrupted minutes of rebuttal, pen and paper provided so that they may make notes for said rebuttal. Then on to the next topic following the same format. In a two-hour session, four topics could easily be covered with enough time left for a little banter and a bathroom/advertisement break. Just to ensure that each speaker has uninterrupted time to speak, the moderator should be able to shut off the microphone of the person who breaks in - no warning, just immediate action by the moderator.

Review from Guidestar

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

After viewing the Trump-Biden debate yesterday, I have some suggestions:

1) It would be good to give the interviewer 5 min at the beginning to outline the basic rules of debate so that the public can calibrate its expectations. It would also allow the debators to sync up so that we know a bad behavior when we see it.

2) Something should be said about the difference between the Office of the Presidency and the person who is the president. Too much deference to the Office is hampering bad behavior by a president who does not wish to play by the rules. If the interview can explain the difference, he can also tell the debaters that he will treat each infraction with the same severe tone and not get bullied by president using his office of the Presidency or X-Vice Presidency.

3) There is no worthwhile debate if a debater can lie or make things up. Each candidate will be penalized if he makes a lie. A running total of lies under each debater can be used to shame ( hopefully ) bad behavior. If the number reaches a threshold, the debater is taken off the debate for a set time. Use of statements like "Some one said X, I don't know X ..." are to be highlighted and the speaker made accountable. If he does not know X, he is not allowed to talk about X -- don't waste the audience's time.

4) There is no worthwhile debate if the debator refuses to answer the question and talks about something else. Again penalties for avoiding the question with the number below the debator will hopefully shame any bad behavior.

5) It is to be noted that only one debater's bad behavior has necessitated the above formal constraints. However, the Commission cannot just rely on every debater's good behavior. All it takes to spoil the soup is one bad apple. And the Commission now has evidence it needs to take that into account.

6) If any party refuses the simple rules that the Commission will make public ( see 1 ), it is OK for the commission to announce that there is no debate, and publish the party responsible The Commission should not be bullied into sacrificing simple and good old American courtesy, just because of one party/candidate. The public will side with the Commission's position since this is not a bully contest and will not be made into one.

PS: Your job is very difficult and I applaud you for the effort. But some principles should not be compromised.

Review from Guidestar

5 David S.28

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Candidates must be placed in individual soundproof insulated glass enclosures. Only one single microphone of the three can be live at a time. Moderator can take any length of time to state the questions. Candidates microphones will go dead upon expiration of allotted response time. Visual timers should be provided each candidate, to accurately gauge response time. Candidates will remain in the enclosures for the duration of the debate and may only exit at the conclusion. Taser automatic or remote shock collars should be locked on candidates in case these protocols are exceeded. We SHALL have NO more unPresidential Debased Debate Debacles. If this is not sufficient to get you to the promised land of debates, contact me for further suggestions at davidsealander@q.com

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 1

I exercised my cringe and grimace muscles in anticipation of this debate but that simply wasn't enough. What a debacle last night was and embarrassing to boot!

Therefore, I suggest that each debater (nominee) be put in a booth with microphone control. Have the Secret Service lock them in, if necessary (Sorry Joe). Then, maybe then we can hear civil discourse and ideas.

Review from Guidestar

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

The Presidential Debate we suffered through last night was a disgrace. I know that both teams need to approve the rules and that it might be difficult to get some of these rule through but looking at the debate last night was stressful, inaccurate and resulted in bullying. Somethings I would like to see are
. Turn off the mike of the person who is not supposed to be speaking
. The only person that the camera should focus on should be the proper speaker. The person who is not supposed to be speaking should not be seen on the camera AT ALL!
. If someone interrupts the speaker, the speaker should get extra time to answer the question and the interrupter should lose time. There should be a time keeper as we use in sports.
. The audience should always be seriously limited, perhaps to only family. The person who whistled or cheered inappropriately should be removed.
. There should be a fact finder who can post accurate facts on the bottom of the screen to stop the excessive and deliberate lying.
. Excessive name calling, bullying and related antics should not be seen or heard on camera. This can be done using a time delayed recording.
I have seen High School election debates run more efficiently and more fairly than this. Please make corrections. We were the world's greatest democracy. SHAME ON US

Review from Guidestar

3 Jane M.7

Advisor

Rating: 5

Last night's debate was a disaster. I want to suggest solutions: Have an honest broker in
charge of the microphones and turn off the mike of someone who interrupts. Or have mike
on only individual speakers when it is his turn, including the moderator, so the moderator
cannot be interrupted. After the 2 minutes allowed time, allow a 10 second grace time so speaker can finish his sentence. Or don't have the debate in person, but on two screens
with each speaker given only his allowed time to answer or argue.

Jane Markley

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

National news reports following the chaotic first Presidential debate Between President Donald Trump and candidate for President Joe Biden state that the organization named “Commission on Presidential Debates” has said that they are considering making changes to the structure of the debate. I understand that to mean their organization is concerned about how the debate went. That is good, because as Americans the majority of us are also concerned. I have the following personal opinion about the matter: There are widely accepted definitions and rules concerning formal debates. It is my belief that the problems with this debate did not stem from an error in structure but from a demonstrated failure by both participants, Donald Trump and Joe Biden, to adhere to the rules to which they both previously agreed. I submit my opinion here with all due respect for all parties involved with the desire only to be of some help to the citizens of our great nation.
Bill Corbett
shenanval@aol.com

Review from Guidestar

6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

I have tried to contact the CPD in so many ways it's a little ridiculous that the phone number listed goes unanswered. Messages are not returned. No emails, and when trying to contact the members of the boards, there is no contact information available. I cannot understand how or why it is possible that such an important organization having to deal with the Presidential Debates and the outcome of who can and cannot participate is seemingly unreachable via email, telephone, and every social network known to man. I'm at the point where I'm sending hand written cards to 2 different addresses (certain to become more than that) as a means of having the most simple question answered. I am just an average American voter who's voice is literally silenced by the unnecessary seclusion of contact information.

Review from Guidestar

5

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

The Commission is an unwelcoming organization, solely devoted to perpetuating a non-inclusive dialogue about the state of political affairs. They do not disclose all information used in their selection process, and seem to think that their criteria, is more important then the constitution and federal agencies. They are a complete sham.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

The Commission on Presidential Debates was created in 1987 by both Republicans and Democrats to manage the televised presidential debates and to purposely exclude third party presidential candidates in order to limit our options when picking the next leader of our country. It is a sham that perpetuates a presidential party duopoly!

Review from Guidestar