When you have twenty plus announced presidential candidates seeking a party nomination, like the Democrats do in advance of their debate extravaganza coming up this week, what they call debates are in actuality forums because it’s very difficult for there to be a true back and forth.
Unless of course you’re crafty like Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard who seized her chance on a War on Terror question to make a point in general or politically brazen like US Senator Kamala Harris who literally created her opportunity to rhetorically rake former Vice-President Joe Biden.
Many of the questions posed to the candidates were milquetoast at best or were tee-ball set ups to engage in a general tirade about the current administration.
In contrast with the lead off Republican debate in 2015, where very pointed questions targeted a chagrined Trump, opportunities were squandered to make particular candidates have to own or runaway from their campaign trail hyperbole.
Furthermore there are general philosophical views that should be revealed to avoid etch-a-sketch posturing once the primaries transition to the general election.
These are the questions I would ask at this week’s presidential debates:
1) Many of you put out statements decrying the “lynching” of actor Jussie Smollett and blaming President Trump for what happened yet in the aftermath of the alleged attack, facts have emerged that plainly indicate that the assault was staged. What is your position on what transpired in light of the new revelations and would you acknowledge that the Empire actor received preferential treatment from the office of Cook County state attorney?
2) The issue of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton utilizing a private server to conduct government business figured prominently in the past election. Would you be comfortable with that arrangement in light of security and record documentation concerns?
3) Do you consider the Maduro regime the legitimate government in Venezuela and if not what measures would you undertake to facilitate the transition to a new government?
4) Staying on the topic of Venezuela, why do you believe living conditions are so poor in a nation with the world’s largest oil reserves?
5) Specifically what aspects of the proposed Green New Deal do you embrace and which do you reject as too extreme?
6) Recently the government of San Antonio directly blocked a Chick-Fila franchise from opening inside their airport. Do you believe the government has the right to stop businesses from opening based upon the politics or religious views of the owners?
7) Do you believe that a church that does not permit the celebration of a same-sex wedding ceremony should lose its tax-exempt status and/or potentially be denied city permits and utilities?
8) Many state Democratic Parties have renamed their annual Jefferson-Jackson Day dinners in light of those presidents’ connection to slavery. Do you believe that it is time to fully disassociate the party’s connection to slavery and Jim Crow by renaming itself?
9) We’ve seen universities and cities across America remove statues of various historic figures because they were slave owners. Do you consider George Washington the Father of Our Country and is it time for the statue of Thomas Jefferson to be removed in Washington, DC?
10) Do you support open borders and should any individual ever be subject to deportation, regardless of status?
11) If elected president, will you remove the barriers along the border constructed under the Trump Administration and those built during the Clinton Administration?
12) Do you embrace Antifa or do you consider them a menace?
13) Should passengers have to show a valid government identification document to board an airplane and do you believe travelers to the United States should have to procure visas?
14) What national policies on firearm and ammunition control will you advocate if elected?
15) Should the electoral college be replaced with a national popular vote?
16) President Trump will be on the ballot next year. Do you believe the push to impeach him is superfluous or essential?
17) Is Donald Trump a legitimately elected president and if not, specifically cite how Russia directly altered the outcome of the election?
18) How much of the blame should be assigned to Hillary Clinton for losing the presidential election in 2016? Please offer details of her mistakes.
19) What defines gender: self-identification or anatomy. If the former, should sex and gender be listed on all legal documents, including passports and drivers’ licenses or just gender?
20) What matters more economically: overall prosperity or fairness?
21) What aspects of socialized health care do you embrace and which components do you reject?
22) Describe your slavery reparations plan, including estimated cost and who would qualify as a recipient.
23) Do you support expanding the number of US Supreme Court Justices, and if so how many new seats should be created?