My One Wish For the First Debate

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Don’t worry, Lester, this is nothing partisan. Feel free to grill Hillary Clinton about her emails and the Clinton Foundation and so forth. And by all means, grill Trump about the Trump Foundation and his lie about opposing the Iraq War and when he decided Obama was born in the US and all the other Trumpisms America wants to hear about.

But here’s my wish: do it in the second half-hour. Debate hosts have a habit of wanting to come out of the gate with a “tough” question that demonstrates what hard-hitting journalists they are, and that usually means some kind of edgily worded question about either a scandal or a “scandal.” Instead, let’s show that policy is what’s most important. You can still ask tough questions, probing around in the details the candidates would rather not address, but make the first half hour all about the actual, concrete plans they have for their presidency. There’s plenty of time for the zinger-fest later.

That’s it. That’s my wish list.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate