My One Wish For the First Debate

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Don’t worry, Lester, this is nothing partisan. Feel free to grill Hillary Clinton about her emails and the Clinton Foundation and so forth. And by all means, grill Trump about the Trump Foundation and his lie about opposing the Iraq War and when he decided Obama was born in the US and all the other Trumpisms America wants to hear about.

But here’s my wish: do it in the second half-hour. Debate hosts have a habit of wanting to come out of the gate with a “tough” question that demonstrates what hard-hitting journalists they are, and that usually means some kind of edgily worded question about either a scandal or a “scandal.” Instead, let’s show that policy is what’s most important. You can still ask tough questions, probing around in the details the candidates would rather not address, but make the first half hour all about the actual, concrete plans they have for their presidency. There’s plenty of time for the zinger-fest later.

That’s it. That’s my wish list.

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Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

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