We are honored to join the Institute for Civil Discourse in calling on the presidential debate moderators to adopt a set of Debate Standards designed to ensure that the 2016 Presidential Debates are fair, informative, and civil.
More than 60 organizations signed on to the debate standards, which include guidelines for moderators, the audience, and the candidates themselves.
This election is the most uncivil in recent memory, and Americans agree. According to recent polling, 69 percent of Americans agree that civility has decreased in the last few years, and 2 out of 3 voters say the 2016 campaign is less civil than other elections.
Standards of Conduct for Debates
I want debaters to:
- Be respectful of others in speech and behavior
- Answer the question being asked by the moderator
- Make ideas and feelings known without disrespecting others
- Take responsibility for past and present behavior, speech and actions
- Stand against incivility when faced with it
I want moderators to:
- Address uncivil behavior by naming it and moderating the conversation to move toward a more respectful dialogue
- Enforce debate rules equally
- Hold candidates accountable by challenging each candidate to speak the truth and act with integrit
- Treat all candidates equally in regards to the complexity of questions and debate rules
- Be respectful when interacting with candidates
I want audience members to:
- Be respectful of other audience members, the candidates and moderators in speech and behavior
- Refrain from creating disturbances to other audience members, candidates and moderators
- Take responsibility for personal behavior, speech and actions
- Speak against incivility by reminding candidates it is not acceptable
- Practice active listening when someone else is speaking, seeking to understand them
These Standards of Conduct for Debates provide a framework through which we can model and revive the spirit of civility. The standards are for all candidates for public office, (including local, regional, state and national candidates), for moderators and for the audience. From our local school boards to our presidential nominees, these standards help explain the manner and respect that we all should abide by – even if and when we disagree.
Join us in telling debaters, audiences, and moderators to uphold these standards, and in agreeing to utilize the citizen standards in your everyday interactions.