Enough with the debates. The same. Old. Words. and ideas. Again and again. And again.
Meanwhile, the first generation to grow up with video games is now voting. In large numbers.
So, here's my proposal. Instead of having the candidates answer questions, put them into simulations. They sit at a laptop or with a joy stick in hand, and are fed scenarios: dollar in free fall, terrorist attack in Miami, find the balance between environmental sustainability and economic prosperity, president of France marries your sister ...
The candidates then have, say, fifteen minutes to craft responses. This could even go in rounds, with them responding to the response of their first response, a recursive causality just like the real world.
We might even give them a life line. As Life Hiker points out, the candidates decision about who to turn to for advice is at least as important as any other decision they make. Who do they call in the middle of financial crisis, for instance?
This, it seems to me, would be a great way to see what a candidate is made of, how quickly and well they think. We might even open it up nationwide, having debates for the final 10, top-scoring candidates. Or, we could just keep listening to them talk.