What reason could I possibly have to hate myself enough to watch another presidential debate featuring uniquely awful Donald Trump?

To make sure he’s a lying sociopath? To see if he’s a worse choice than Joe Biden? To gain useful insights into American politics?

In truth, there is no point. Nothing will be revealed that we don’t already know so thoroughly that we can barely stand to hear it again. We could cancel the “debates” and lose nothing. Hell, we’d gain precious moments of our lives we might otherwise be tempted to waste.

Presidential debates can matter under four conditions: If the election is close, many voters are undecided, one or both candidates are unknown, or partisanship is low.

Trump exacerbates the limitations of debates with his pathological lying, constant interruptions, and degrading of the information function.

Everything that a voter could care to know is so widely accessible now that debates, at best, add nothing and serve as a venue for spreading misinformation.

If no one is learning from debates and no viewers are changing their minds, why are we still doing this? Debates are now bad entertainment for people whose favorite TV show is politics and they can make do elsewhere. Watch reruns of "The West Wing" or something.

The need for social distancing brought about by the pandemic, coupled with the outrageousness of the Trump presidency, creates an opening to rid ourselves of the silly spectacle that debates have become, not only in 2020, but for good.

We will regret passing on this opportunity.


Ocean Park

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