Last week, Truth In Media launched a petition entertaining the idea of Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul participating in a joint town hall-style debate. To date, the petition has received over 3,500 signatures, indicating a clear desire by many to see these two presidential candidates go head to head.
According to the petition, interest is building on the Internet to see Sanders and Paul on stage together, as both candidates have mass appeal that extends beyond party labels.
"We are actively in dialogue with both candidates, but we need your help to make this happen,” Truth in Media states.
The two share similar views on issues like NSA spying and the war on drugs. Yet it is their sharply contrasting views on economic and health care polices that would likely produce a lively and substantive debate.
Paul is a fan of free market economics, while Sanders is a self proclaimed democratic socialist. Sanders advocates for a single payer health care system, and Paul's goal is to repeal Obamacare and apply free market principles.
"We at Truth In Media have tuned into these discussions and hear you loud and clear. That’s why we’ve taken matters into our own hands to prepare what could be the most influential dialogue of the 2016 presidential election— a town hall event this fall in an important battleground state, New Hampshire, with these two candidates." - Truth in Media petition
The presidential debates play an important role in the election process. A public debate will leave citizens further informed about a candidate's polices. Further, reaching across partisan boundaries could raise the level of political discourse, something that does not happen often in the current political environment.If the two take center stage, it could shift both men's standing in the polls as Americans gain more insight into their plans for the country. It is a step toward a less divisive election process. reports that Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz stated that "[Democratic] candidates will be uninvited from subsequent debates if they accept an invitation to anything outside of the six sanctioned debates.” She added that there would be no changes to the debate schedule, or the policies regarding participation in party-sanctioned debates.
However, The Hill
The rule places severe restrictions on debates and the discussion of contrasting ideas between candidates. The Republican Party also proclaims it will punish those who participate in a non-sanctioned debate.
Neither party clearly defines what constitutes a debate, and the proposed forum may allow an unjust reason for exclusion. Following this regulation, a candidate could be easily cut from the debate for little more than argumentative conversation.
With the party rules currently in place, can this petition move things in a free and fair direction?