Democratic systems don’t work unless citizens make them work. In an election year, debates between candidates are essential to a healthy democracy.
Yet, Idaho Sen. Jim Risch and 1st District Rep. Russ Fulcher have refused invitations from a Boise television station to debate challengers Paulette Jordan and Rudy Soto respectively. Both Risch and Fulcher are Republicans. Jordan and Soto are Democrats.
The face-to-face debates would have been in addition to Idaho Public Television’s question-and-answer forums produced with separate video interviews. Only 2nd District Congressman Mike Simpson and challenger Aaron Swisher have both agreed to a live televised debate.
Risch and Fulcher seem to be following President Trump’s flawed lead in ducking debates. Following a single debate with former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump refused to be part of town hall debates scheduled by the national Commission on Presidential Debates.
Risch uses controlled delivery systems to communicate his positions. He seems to love invitation-only teleconferences typically larded with softball questions.
Elections are all about tough challenges to the status quo. Only despots avoid challenges to their records and rely primarily on the advantage of name recognition.
Dodging debates and the hard questions they bring is the height of arrogance. It reeks of disrespect for voters. It assumes that voters will drink whatever Kool-Aid an incumbent serves up without question. It assumes that voters don’t deserve to witness a debate between those that want their votes.
Debates worked for Republican President Abraham Lincoln. They still work in 2020. To deny voters debates is to deprive them of democracy.
By: MT Express