Presidential candidates who are Senators may debate one another on the Senate floor, provided they stick to Senate business. Sen. Bernie Sanders has been craving the chance to debate candidates from the opposing party. Sen. Ted Cruz is open to the opportunity.
“Bernie Sanders could participate in a one-on-one, leftwing versus right debate with Ted Cruz during the presidential primary, without violating restrictive rules set by the Democratic and Republican national committees. The two senators would just have to face off at their workplace, the US Capitol. […]
Staffers for both the DNC and RNC confirmed that the restrictions on presidential debates do not apply to debates held on the floor of Congress. Sean Spicer, the chief strategist for the RNC, told the Guardian: “Senate business would not be a violation.” […]
Now the two presidential candidates have the possibility of making such a debate happen, albeit with the caveat that it would have to happen on the Senate floor, according to the rules of that chamber. “
— Ben Jacobs, The Guardian
The Pros & Cons
Presidential candidate debates between opposing parties can highlight the defining differences between parties. The full details surrounding an issue will be revealed. So often, a proposed idea sounds great – until you learn more about it. This kind of debate can cut through the superficial ‘spin’ associated with policies and proposed legislation.
Assuming that Senate floor debate between candidates is covered by C-SPAN, it may help to curtail some of the influence that corporate-sponsored mainstream media imposes on our political process. Might Senate floor debates support a trend towards less commercialized elections?
Would Senate floor debates give an unfair campaign advantage to presidential candidates who happen to be Senators? Should a similar opportunity be arranged for candidates who are non-Senator candidates? May the prospect of presidential candidate debates on the Senate floor lead to meaningful election campaign reform?
What kind of pros and cons do you see arising from Senate floor debates between presidential candidates? Please share your thoughts.