In the face of a once-in-generation election, this year’s debates have been a letdown in both the “fight night” format and the narrow substance of the questions. That’s not simply unhelpful to the public discourse, it’s a disservice to all voters, in particular black voters.
With this week’s Democratic debate in Atlanta, there’s an opportunity to break new ground by discussing issues critically important to black voters in greater detail. The moderators could redeem their colleagues in the media by diving deeper on top issues that are front of mind for black Americans, whose votes we know are critical to winning both the 2020 primary and to defeating Donald Trump in the general election.
We’re four debates into a presidential campaign cycle, yet there have been no direct questions on voting rights and voter suppression. That’s malpractice. With rates of voter roll purges surging astronomically higher since the Shelby County decision, and new, increasingly nefarious efforts to block black voter participation, voting rights ought to be central to every debate.