With moderators now designated for the upcoming presidential debates, candidates and organizers should rethink the out-sized role these journalists usually play. Yes, you need someone to enforce time limits and to announce periodic breaks, but a potentially biased broadcaster shouldn’t get to pose all questions and steer the discussion.
Why not allow candidates more substantial opening statements to lay out their arguments, and then give them time to question one another? Trump might get five questions to ask Hillary, and could press her on the shameful handling of her e-mails and the Clinton Foundation. Clinton would also ask five questions, and might push Trump on what he’s hiding in his unreleased tax returns. They could also focus on more substantive issues, while answering direct challenges to their usual talking points.
This format would make for more revealing confrontations that could engage the electorate and reduce chances for a one-sided moderator (like the infamous Candy Crowley in 2012) tilting the outcome of the debate and the election.