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We Need a Real People's Debate, Not the "Fight of the Century"

By       Message Richard Eskow       (Page 1 of 4 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   2 comments

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Reprinted from Campaign For America's Future

Hillary Clinton vs Donald Trump
Hillary Clinton vs Donald Trump
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We're told that Monday night's confrontation between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton could draw 100 million viewers and "rank among television benchmarks like the finales of 'MASH' and 'Cheers.'"

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We're not being told that it will be a debate on the issues of greatest concern to the American people.

But then, it may not even really be a debate at all. A debate, according to Merriam-Webster, is "a regulated discussion of a proposition between two matched sides." Given Trump's cheap theatrics, and the media's sensationalist bent, we're more likely to see a "pageant" -- which is defined as "a mere show" and "an ostentatious display" -- instead.

That would be tragic -- for the democratic process, and for the country.

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Showtime

Millions of Americans deserve answers -- including the unjustly incarcerated, African Americans, Native Americans, the unemployed, people struggling to get by on their meager earnings, young people burdened with student debt, and everyone who is concerned about the future of the planet.

Will they get them?

The pre-debate coverage isn't promising. We've heard a lot about trivial and gossipy topics -- like the possible presence in the debate audience of someone who claims to have had a relationship with one of the candidate's spouses several decades ago.

Who cares?

We have also heard a lot about "debate prep." Clinton reportedly "has a thick dossier on Mr. Trump" and will try to "knock (him) off-balance," and that Trump's campaign "has created a detailed analysis of Hillary Clinton's debate style -- including her body language and verbal tics..."

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There's something wrong with a "debate" process that encourages campaigns to do this kind of research instead of working to find solutions to the nation's problems. Maybe the candidates should be placed in darkened rooms where they can answer questions in writing, like "Jeopardy!" contestants do on the final round.

Here are some of the underreported issues that Lester Holt and NBC should ask the candidates to address.

The Economy

Incomes went up, and poverty decreased, in the latest Census Bureau figures. But the nation has yet to fully recover from the financial crisis of 2008 -- a crisis caused by greed, reckless, and widespread lawbreaking on Wall Street.

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Host of 'The Breakdown,' Writer, and Senior Fellow, Campaign for America's Future

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