No Debate

No Debate Cover

No Debate

How the Republican and Democratic Parties Secretly Control the Presidential Debates

By George Farah

Seven Stories Press, Paperback, 9781583226308, 224pp.

Publication Date: April 6, 2004

Broadcast to tens of millions of Americans, the presidential debates are the Super Bowl of politics. A good performance before the cameras can vault a contender to the front of the pack, while a gaffe spells national embarrassment and can savage a candidacy. The slim margin for error has led the two major parties to seek--and achieve, under the aegis of the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates--tight control through scripting, severe time limits, and the exclusion of third-party candidates. In "No Debate," author and lobbyist George Farah argues that these staged recitations make a mockery of free and fair presidential elections.
With urgency and clarity, this book reviews the history of presidential debates, the impact of the debates since the advent of television, the role of the League of Women Voters, the antidemocratic activity of the CPD, and the specific ways that the Republicans and Democrats collude to remove all spontaneity from the debates themselves. The author presents the complete text of a previously unreleased secret document between the Republicans and Democrats that reveals the degree to which the two parties--not the CPD--dictate the terms of the debates. In the final chapter, Farah lays out a compelling strategy for restoring the presidential debates as a nonpartisan, unscripted, public events that help citizens--not corporations or campaign managers--decide who is going to run the White House.

About the Author
Farrar is the founding executive director of Open Debates, a Washington-based non-profit focused on reforming the presidential debate process. A graduate of Princeton, Farrar is a student at Harvard Law School where he founded ReformHLS, an organization designed to stem corporate influence over the law school and promote justice-related career options. Part of Nader's 2000 campaign team, Farah has been published in the Harvard Law Record, Extra and Princeton's Progressive Review.