It’s interesting you see the answer as moving to social media. I don’t think that solves the problem.

I think the television debates could be organized to focus on the issues, rather than on the sensationalism that garners attention. The piece is about the way television networks are using the debates to television’s advantage, rather than to democracy’s.

Television networks see the Internet as a threat to their centrality. My saying this does not mean I think Kim Kardashian should be president. Not at all. I do believe there are some politicians whose communication styles are more consonant with digital media — like AOC. And I think in ten or fifteen years, we may be seeing the net play a more dominant role in the selection process. That does NOT mean the democratic primary debates should happen on TV today. That’s a whole different set of conclusions. Interesting ones, but not what I’m suggesting.

All I’m saying is that the networks have turned television performance into the only qualification that matters for candidates. It’s absolutely okay with me if you think that’s good. It’s possible I’m wrong, that the ability to perform on television is the quality that matters most for America’s president. But right now, I fear that Trump-style behavior does better on TV than traditional dramatic peformance. And that democrats, if they want to win, may have to try focusing on real issues rather than submit to the demands of the entertainment-based networks on which they are appearing.

It’s a very simple suggestion: use the debates to elucidate the issues, rather than to promote the television business.

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Author of Team Human, Present Shock, Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, Program or Be Programmed, and host of the Team Human podcast

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