Rhetoric Referee: Overtime

Rhetoric Referee: Overtime

With another Democratic debate coming up tonight — this time with a record 12 candidates — this is sure to come up again. It’s a simple rule and violators are easy to spot. There’s a time limit on responses, both to the moderator’s questions and to challenges from opponents.

Watch for this one. In the last few debates, everyone attempted to follow the rule at first. Then one candidate would push the envelope and continue speaking even after the moderator called time. That took the pressure off and after that it became a free-for-all.

Like most other rough-and-tumble sports, debate has its rules. Unlike other sports, there is no penalty for violating this one.


THE MORNING AFTER: CNN and the New York Times tracked the speaking times of each candidate, and the results correspond with what the casual listener already knew. Most of the speakers stuck to their times, but Sanders and especially Warren got a bit more time to respond to challenges by other candidates. Warren repeatedly ran over her allotted time despite efforts by moderators to move on.

Photo by Shawn Stutzman on Pexels.com

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