Who Benefits From a State Debate Commission?
Since multiple television stations cover state debate commission debates, voters can have easy access to a debate. Voters can see a neutral, non-partisan debate that does not favor one candidate or the other. Additionally, a well organized, moderated debate offers important information for voters in terms of candidate issue emphases and positions, as well as how they respond to questions from the public, the press, and each other. This information transcends the ten second media soundbites and includes reactions to spontaneous situations rather than the more packaged information candidates deliver in ads.
Furthermore, voters benefit from having all the candidates together on the same stage. At a time when many candidates skip debates, the debates sponsored by the states in the State Debate Coalition (which currently number 50 debates) have never had an active candidate refuse to debate.
Candidates can know the forum is non-partisan and neutral and that they will be treated fairly in a state debate commission debate. They know they can reach larger numbers of voters with their messages in one debate televised broadly (on more than one station) than they can in multiple debates across a state or district. They can speak directly to voters without filters and be able to explain their positions in more than just soundbites.
Media outlets do not need to host their own debates or negotiate with candidates to be able to air debates. Instead, they can take a feed provided by the state debate commission. Broadcast stations can air a quality production that is non-partisan and newsworthy. Airing a debate commission debate fills the public service requirements of broadcasters.
Educators and Students
Students can participate in the debates by submitting questions, attending the debate, or watching debate parties. Educators can integrate these neutral debates into their curriculum to help students better understand issues, the political process, and debating.