Trump Versus Biden: How to Stop the Interruptions

November 2, 2020 Updated: November 2, 2020

Notwithstanding the merits or demerits of the points addressed in the first Trump versus Biden debate, it was disgraceful to see two grown men interrupting and over-talking each other, and disregarding the rules of the moderator throughout the event, in front of the whole world.

Here is my suggestion for what is needed to stop interruption in any public debate: A moderator who is even-handed, but who has the help of a referee.

A referee on-stage, with a red penalty light for each debater. The moment a speaker interrupts, the referee hits that speaker’s red light, and turns it off when the interruption stops. The total time of each speaker’s interruptions is subtracted from the time allotted for their closing remarks in the last segment of the debate.

We penalize athletes for infractions of rules and for misbehavior. Why not penalize debaters, too?

William Gairdner

Ontario, Canada