With so many candidates, the Republican fora couldn’t possibly be structured like debates – and they aren’t. Some have compared them to joint news conferences. I think they are more like free-style wrestling tournaments, in which performance is judged according to the criteria of spectacle. Who made the best pivots? Who pulled the cleverest sucker punches? Who got the other guy to slip?
There is no point in protesting the element of spectacle, but I wonder if it could be a more edifying spectacle. What if the party took a lesson from other athletic competitions and staged a series of one-to-one duels, leading up to a playoff?