POLITICAL EDUCATION

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SUMMARY:

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A:  REAL DEBATES

Proposed, that presidential and other candidates have debates — real debates, not debate/Q&A exchanges, but ones with resolutions to be proven or disproven.  And that these debates be not necessarily between the candidates, but between advocates selected by political candidates. And that these debates be not oral, but in writing — conducted over the Internet.

It is not proposed that such debates to replace the present debate/Q&A oral exchanges, but rather to supplement them; to precede them — in the same way that legal briefs precede oral arguments in a trial.

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B. DEBATES BETWEEN POLITICAL PARTIES

Proposed, in order to avoid an excess of debates, and to allow for scheduling unrelated to particular elections, advocates chosen by the governing bodies of the political parties could engage in debates.

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C:  A VOTER’S RESPONSIBILITY 

Proposed, that the various states enact parameters for political debates by candidates and/or political parties that, if met, would would  become required reading (or, with audio files, required listening) for voters, and would be made available to voters. (Alternatively, states may authorized contesting candidates/parties to separately select material to be included as portions for required voter reading/listening, the word-count percentage share of those portions being determined by the percentage of the vote received in prior elections.)

Such a requirement on voters would be enforced either by the honor system or by testing:

Under the honor system, citizens would, prior to voting, attest to having read or listened to such material. Waivers, including waivers for conscientious objection, would be available. Should a citizen not comply, and not seek to avail him- or herself of any waivers, or to qualify for them, then such citizen is nonetheless still be free to vote, but be subject to a 4-hour daytime solitary confinement, with only voter materials (ones presenting opposing views) available for diversion.

Under the testing alternative, enforcement would be require the contesting candidates/parties to produce a series of multiple-choice questions based on their respective portions of the required voter reading, and to set the pass/fail point. These questions must be asked (but not necessarily graded) immediately prior to voting. If the voter refuses to that the test, or fails either part of the test, the voter will be required to attend a 4-hour class, led by representatives of both candidates/parties. Failure to attend the class would lead to an 8-hour daytime solitary confinement, with only voter materials presenting both views available for diversion.

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