Here is a quote from one of the many articles I found when I went looking for the statement from the League of Women Voters about why they stopped hosting the Presidential debates (do a search on "League of Women Voters Presidential debates" for some interesting reading).
The Commission on Presidential Debates, a non-profit institution, is organizing the debates this year, as it has since its founding in 1987. Led by a board of high ranking members of the two major parties, the Commission largely operates behind closed doors, where it pre-screens questions and vets moderators. Though opaque, this week audiences caught a glimpse into how the body makes decisions. Its chief, Janet Brown, said it was the duty of the candidates, not of the moderator, to fact check each other.Here is the video I was looking for:
The takeaway line from the speech is:
The League of Women Voters is withdrawing sponsorship of the presidential debates … because the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter. It has become clear to us that the candidates’ organizations aim to add debates to their list of campaign-trail charades devoid of substance, spontaneity and answers to tough questions. The League has no intention of becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public.The League made sure that the debates were run in a truly impartial manner before the two parties created The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), which is a non-profit corporation established in 1987 under the joint sponsorship of the Democratic and Republican political parties in the United States.
If that doesn't stink to you, then you probably should go back to believing the Russians rigged the election. This commenter pretty much sums up what the debates have become:
Instead of any substantive exploration of the candidates' proposals, we will be treated to a mélange of showmanship and complaining, obstinacy and irrelevance, petty quibbles, grandstanding, pandering, half-truths, and punchlines. The candidates will be rehearsed, the moderators timid, the questions calculated, and the answers at once too short and too long. We will learn little to nothing that could not be discovered at this very moment by any Google user of modest skill. And inevitably, we will drink — a shot for every boast, a chug for every lie — because drinking games have become as guaranteed a fixture of our presidential debates as the candidates themselves. Is it any wonder debate viewership has been on a steady decline for decades?
The bottom line is that the CPD has made it hard for third parties to get involved in the debates. Toss in that the debates have no real substance. That's because they are a pointless exercise in duopoly PR.
There is a reason that Climate Change got
The CPD is one of many examples of how the US elections are not "free and fair".
On the other hand, isn't having a president who wasn't popularly elected enough to persuade you of that?
- Presidential Debates under the League of Women Voters
- The secretive commission that controls the presidential debates
- How Presidential Debates Became ‘a Fraud on the American Voter’
- How Third Parties Are Kept Out Of Presidential Debates
- End the presidential debate cartel