The Good Project & National Institute for Civil Discourse Release Debate Standards for 2016 Presidential Debates
The Good Project joins the National 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.
The Good Project has worked for two decades on issues like ethics and civic participation, especially with relation to young people. With a divisive election upon us, The Good Project believes that the Debate Standards can help set the tone for healthier civic dialogue between parties.
“After the constant vitriol and caustic rhetoric this campaign has wreaked on America’s political landscape, the debates represent our last best chance for a civil reset, for Americans to come together and hearing the candidates’ cases,” said Dr. Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer, Executive Director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse. “We urge the moderators to adopt the National Institute for Civil Discourse’s Debate Standard and therefore ensure a civil debate, where both sides are heard and respected and treated equally.”
The Debate Standards are:
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 integrity
- 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
The presidential debates are scheduled for September 26, at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York; October 9 at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri; and on October 19 at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. The presidential debate moderators are NBC’s Lester Holt, CNN’s Anderson Cooper and ABC’s Martha Raddatz, and Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace. The Vice Presidential debate is scheduled for October 4 at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, moderated by Elaine Quijano of CBS News.
The Good Project is a research group of Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education that promotes excellence, engagement, and ethics in education, preparing students to become good workers and good citizens who contribute to the overall well-being of society. Through our research-based concepts, frameworks, and resources, we seek to help students reflect upon the ethical dilemmas that arise in everyday life and give them the tools to make thoughtful decisions.
The National Institute for Civil Discourse, is a non-profit, non-partisan institute based at the University of Arizona dedicated to addressing incivility and political dysfunction in American democracy by promoting structural and behavioral change. Informed by research, NICD’s programs are designed to create opportunities for elected officials, the media, and the public to engage different voices respectfully and take responsibility for the quality of our public discourse and effectiveness of our democratic institutions. NICD was formed after the tragic shooting of former Rep. Gabby Giffords in Tucson, and their National Advisory Board includes former President George H.W. Bush, former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.