Here’s my idea: Give each candidate a list of questions, and a certain number of tokens representing half of the available airtime for the debate. Each token activates the mike for precisely two minutes. When the time is up, the mike goes off. Then it’s the other guy’s turn.
This goes on, question by question, until the debate comes to an end. A particularly windy candidate can keep on talking past his two minutes, but nobody can hear him. Because the other guy has inserted a token and it’s his turn to talk.
It pretty clear by now that moderators don’t work, particularly in a pseudo “town hall” format where the candidates can wander the stage like ferrets, talking over each other and the hapless moderator while spraying rehearsed bullet points in answer to questions that have not been asked.
I hate it when the commentariat declares instant winners and losers for these things, since I don’t believe there’s reliable scoring system for anything other than style. Now that objective truth is no longer a factor, I guess it comes down to who makes the fewest verbal gaffes. I’ll let Twitter decide. In the meantime, I know who I’m voting for, and I suspect you do too. Those people in the town hall seats though: who in the hell are those folks?