It is better to postpone the debates until the political atmosphere improves, transforming the animosity into a friendly disagreement.
U.S. presidential election debates between leading candidates for the office at White House are not required by law. In 1964, 1968, and 1972 there were no such debates. For example, when Republican Ronald Reagan competed with Democrat Jimmy Carter, both campaigns were surprised with ones. The teams of both candidates hastily arranged them after long negotiations.
But the candidates did not disappoint the audience responding with sincerity, eloquence, and humour. President Reagan wit was what won the debate on October 28, 1980, a week before Election Day.
When President Carter criticised the record of Mr. Reagan, which included voting against Medicare and Social Security benefits, Governor Reagan audibly sighed and replied: "There you go again”.
His 'there you go again' line defused the attack of his opponent. This statement became iconic during the rest of the campaign. President Reagan used the same strategy exactly four years later during the debates with Democratic candidate Walter Mondale. On October 21, 1984, in Kansas City, he stated:
I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience, Ronald Reagan quipped during the 1984 presidential debates when asked if he is too old to be President. The line — a classic example of Reagan's sense of humour — even solicited a laugh from Democratic opponent Walter Mondale.
Following the debate in 1984, scholars from two distinguished universities of Georgetown and Harvard determined in the studies that debates between or among the leading candidates should become a regular part of the way Americans elect their presidents.
But the debates of that age were exchange of views, often with sharp differences, however never with a fit of anger, let alone hostility. The National Security Advisor of President Reagan, Judge William P. Clark, observed that effective government could not be built without camaraderie between politicians. Republicans and Democrats nourished the spirit of political roommates sharing one chamber since the French word comes from the Latin Camara meaning chamber. Good politics requires companionship that creates a climate for finding solutions that can serve all of the voters.
Not every generation can create the enlightened statesmen, because it takes the society for which character rather than outward appearance counts. As America’s Founding Fathers observed, men (and women) of factious tempers, of local prejudices, of sinister designs, may, by intrigue, by corruption or by other means win suffrages.
They may be able to achieve it because the societies are not able to distinguish between the true value and temporary importance. The consequence of such deficiency for society can be only one: elected politicians betray the interest of the people.
In 2020 the political class appears to be lacking the basic value of decency and tempered attitude. Yesterday debate showed the confusion and instability could soon be introduced to the public offices contributing to further erosion of their moral stance.
Both candidates behaved unpresidential, effectively preventing debate from taking place.
The moderator disappointed as well not trying to conceal his political position when he asked Mr. Trump about the radical right factions but failed to pose a question on the radical left to Mr. Biden.
The stability of the political institutions, like presidential debates, depends on considerate and virtuous citizens, who are equally creators of a friendly good fellowship and courageous exchanges of sharply different views. It is an art, which, in the era of social media that generates hostility and discourages in-depth reflection, is nearly unattainable.
It is better to postpone such debates until the political atmosphere improves, transforming the animosity into a friendly disagreement.
In fact, one can wonder: what debate? It is a reason to be ashamed.