Why do we only formally debate during elections?

It would serve us well to do it way more often

Julio Vincent Gambuto

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I was fascinated this week by the debate between Tim Ryan and J.D. Vance for the Senate seat in Ohio. Ryan is an interesting guy, and I suppose I personally enjoy watching a working-class hero do a master balancing act between his blue collar and his blue suit. What language will he use? How emotional will he be? Will he present as a polished politico or as a man of the people, the guy who wrote that book about farming? He seems to do both well, even though he’s been in Congress for 20 years and, well…never seems to have had a job that wasn’t on Capitol Hill. At the other end of the stage was Vance, who went from venture capitalist to celebrated memoirist to renowned Trump kiss-ass, who spent most of the time dodging very legitimate claims that he funded January 6 insurrectionists and is a right-wing election-denying extremist. It was an eventful clash.

As they sparred, I was reminded of how I feel every two years: debates should be longer, more frequent, and less focused on a primary goal: getting elected.

In America, our debates — in their formal form — pop up on our screens every two years. The presidential ones, of course, are promoted and watched like championship football games. The midterms ones are more local media fare…

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Julio Vincent Gambuto

Author + Moviemaker // Happiness in a fucked-up modern world // New book from Avid Reader Press (Simon & Schuster) // Audie Finalist // SXSW // juliovincent.com