So long to the Commission on Presidential Debates


Any lingering doubt that the Commission on Presidential Debates would have a role in the 2024 election was eliminated Wednesday when the Biden campaign announced it would not participate in the commission’s debates.

The commission was already on shaky ground after the Republican Party announced in 2022 that it would not participate in the commission’s debates, citing the entity’s extreme bias against the GOP. Wednesday’s announcement from the Biden campaign sealed its fate and changed the debate structure for the presidential election for the first time in decades.

Shortly after the letter was released, President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump announced they would participate in two debates: one on CNN at the end of June and another in September to be hosted by ABC. A vice presidential debate will also take place at a to-be-determined date. These are the first debates to be hosted by an entity other than the CPD since the 1984 election debates that featured President Ronald Reagan and Democratic nominee Walter Mondale.

There is nothing lost by spurning the Commission on Presidential Debates. In fact, voters will be far better served by the three debates organized independently between the two campaigns and news networks than they would be by the three CPD debates that typically take place in September and October.

To begin with, Election Day has turned into Election Season. Early voting and absentee voting begin in September in several states before most of the debates have typically taken place. Voters who opt to vote early are then deprived of the opportunity to view the debates before they vote.


While early voting has been around for some time, the Commission on Presidential Debates has refused to shift the debate calendar to accommodate this change in the voting process for multiple cycles. Furthermore, it has turned the events into media spectacles on college campuses with little benefit to voters while repeatedly selecting debate moderators that have skewed the debate process in favor of the Democratic candidate.

With the commission consigned to irrelevancy for the 2024 cycle and perhaps beyond, the presidential debates will be more transparent and hopefully more substantive than in election cycles past. The candidates and voters will be better served by it.

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