Editorial: Hey, candidates, debate the issues, not the format

SHARE Editorial: Hey, candidates, debate the issues, not the format
GOP_2016_DEBATE_57182017_999x629.jpg

Jeb Bush, second from left, is flanked by Mike Huckabee, left, Marco Rubio, center, Donald Trump, second from right, and Ben Carson during the CNBC Republican presidential debate at the University of Colorado, Oct. 28 in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Follow @csteditorials

Artfully dodging a tough question has always been a popular tactic among politicians.

But recently, candidates running for the Republican presidential nomination have been taking that to a new level by suggesting it’s unfair for anyone to even ask the tough questions in the first place.

EDITORIAL

Follow @csteditorials

They complained that CNBC’s moderators at the debate last week in Colorado asked “gotcha” questions and were more determined to undercut the candidates than educate voters. Next, the GOP said it would suspend the next debate hosted by NBC News, CNBC’s sister network, and Telemundo. On Sunday night, advisers from at least 11 of the campaigns met in Washington to discuss changes in debate rules.

Can we ask: What were they thinking?

Or is that an unfair, loaded question?

By Monday night, some candidates were backing off, saying they wouldn’t sign a joint letter of complaint to the networks. That was a wise move. The existing debate schedule and formats are the result of thorough negotiations with the Republican National Committee. Getting into a prolonged debate about the debates at this point would not be productive. And a “gotcha” question is not simply one a candidate would prefer not to answer.

The reality is that any debate format is going to be unwieldy as long as so many candidates — 15, at last counting — remain in the race. Both parties should be thinking about better ways to handle a field of this size in the future to help voters make wise choices.

But for now, the candidates should focus on doing what they should be doing at debates — answering the questions.

Follow the Editorial Board on Twitter: Follow @csteditorials

Tweets by @CSTeditorials

The Latest
As momentum seems to grow for the Bears to draft Caleb Williams and trade Fields, he....
There will undoubtedly be sticking points for some of the governor’s priorities, however, including funding for migrants and health care costs for the undocumented.
La decisión llega después de que el alcalde Brandon Johnson aprobara el fin del contrato de $10.3 millones del distrito escolar con el Departamento de Policía de Chicago.
As Tim Anderson eyes new team, White Sox should be less flashy, more steady with Paul DeJong, Nicky Lopez up middle
No one was injured and nothing exploded during the threat, which happened about 7:45 a.m.