Really, calling the campaign stops “Presidential Candidate Debates” is more than just a misnomer, it’s a disservice.
These aren’t debates. They are simply soap boxes for each candidate to say various non-committal non-responses that are really nothing more than puff position statements. To paraphrase what was once said in an actual election debate: “Would-be next presidents, I’ve been in debates. I’ve competed in debate. These, sirs, are no debates”.
For those who don’t understand a debate is really a structured argument. One side puts forth a position and the other responds directly, often positing specifically, directly, and obviously related questions designed to dig further into the subject or proposal. Then the other side will do the same. What we will see in these events will be nothing of the sort.
What we will see is the “moderator” asking a question, the candidate dodging and answering with something else. Both candidates will do it, make no mistake. The fact that the questions are proposed by a “moderator” should give you a clue as to what is really going on. A debate isn’t about moderation, it is about digging into the depths; it is about digging into your opponent’s claims, positions, and proposals, and having them dig into yours.
At best we’ll get tangentially related surface answers and neither side will be allowed to get into the details of either theirs or their opponents comments. All this will really do is serve to show to those looking that neither candidate really knows what the hell he is talking about.