Is there a moderator who can control the modern Presidential debate?


Chip Somodevilla

Chris Wallace and President Donald Trump at the first of three 2020 presidential debates.

No matter where on the political spectrum you may fall, one thing was clear in the first presidential debate: Chris Wallace failed to control one of the more chaotic debates in our nation’s history. Wallace, who has found success as a moderator in the past, appeared to be a solid choice to umpire one of the cornerstones of American democracy. Unfortunately for Wallace, this was no traditional debate — It was an hour and a half of pure chaos.

On one side of the stage we saw Joe Biden: a seasoned debater who connects with his audience through personal anecdotes that remind one of a long-forgotten “American Dream”. To his right, Donald Trump: A bull in a china shop whose only goal is to drag his opponent down to his level. The aftermath of this utterly insane debate left us, the viewers, with only one question: is there anyone who can control these guys?

So, without further ado, here are my picks for moderators who could maintain balance in such an unorthodox debate.

Martha Raddatz

Martha Raddatz found success keeping President Trump on task in 2016 by doing one simple thing: asking him the same question until he gave an answer. Everytime the President got off track or chose to insult his opponent rather than respond to the prompt, Raddatz would just continue to repeat her question until he gave a coherent answer. Raddatz ultimately carries with her a no-nonsense style, which proved successful in keeping Trump focused on the question. However, she still struggled to keep his constant interruptions to a minimum.

Megyn Kelly

Whether you agree or disagree with her politics, Megyn Kelly does one thing well: getting on Trump’s nerves. In the 2016 Republican debates, Megyn Kelly held nothing back, attacking the future president’s past insults towards women. Kelly doesn’t back down from a fight, which is what made her successful in keeping Trump at bay. While many may choose to take the high road when it comes to the President’s bullish tactics, Kelly chooses to drag race Trump on the low road, ultimately asserting her dominance as the moderator.

Joe Rogan

Okay, okay — I know this last pick is a little out of nowhere, but hear me out for a second. Joe Rogan, though controversial, combines Raddatz’s no-nonsense style with Kelly’s “you hit me, I hit you” mentality. However, Rogan is also very good at inciting critical thinking — something that many undecided voters will find themselves doing a lot come November. Rogan may not be the most conventional moderator, but for an unconventional debate that feels much like a UFC fight, he just may be the guy.

In conclusion, the fact that we have to consider who could successfully moderate this debate is symbolic of just how unconventional this election is. But if the Commission on Presidential Debates doesn’t figure out a better format, we could likely hear Jake Tapper’s descriptions of the next two debates get even more obscure.