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Hey Kossacks!  This was posted by Progressive Change Campaign Committee co-founder Adam Green on the PCCC's blog, The Daily Change, and is cross-posted here in hopes of great participation from the Daily Kos community!

Open Debate Questions

Today, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee is proud to announce that we will host a first-of-its-kind Open Debate in the special election for Congress in Massachusetts.

All 5 Democrats running in the primary to replace now-Senator Ed Markey in the House of Representatives have agreed to participate in our Open Debate, where the public submits and votes on the questions. This is also Sen. Elizabeth Warren's home congressional district.

Open Debates will be a game changer in our political process -- ensuring that questions get asked that the public actually cares about. What starts in Massachusetts will hopefully become the norm for local, state, congressional, and even presidential debates in the future.

The debate will be held Saturday, August 10, at 11am Eastern and will be broadcast live online at At this site, the public can submit questions, vote, learn about the candidates, and sign up for a reminder to watch the debate.

While this debate is a first, the idea of Open Debates is not new. During the 2008 presidential campaign, I was happy to work with Internet guru (now Harvard Professor) Lawrence Lessig to lead an amazing alliance of progressives, conservatives, and techies who came together around the Open Debate Coalition. This coalition included MoveOn, DailyKos, Arianna Huffington, Grover Norquist, Newt Gingrich's American Solutions, RedState, Craig from Craiglist, Jimmy Wales from Wikipedia, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Personal Democracy Forum, Aaron Swartz, and many others.

Our coalition had two core Open Debate principles:

1. Debates are for the benefit of the public. Therefore, the right to speak about the debates ought to be “owned” by the public, not controlled by the media. [M]edia companies [should] release rights to presidential debate video to ensure that key moments can be legally blogged about, shared on YouTube, or otherwise shared without fear of legal repercussion.

2. “Town hall” Internet questions should be chosen by the people, not solely by the media...YouTube debates were a milestone for Internet participation in presidential debates. But they put too much discretion in the hands of gatekeepers. Many of the questions chosen by TV producers were considered gimmicky and not hard-hitting enough, and never would have bubbled up on their own. This “bubble up” idea is the essence of the Internet as we know it. The best ideas rise to the top, and the wisdom of crowds prevails.

The Open Debate coalition saw amazing success.

CNN, ABC, NBC, and CBS all agreed to release video rights. (Fox did not, and then threatened to sue John McCain for using a debate clip.)

The McCain and Obama campaigns both endorsed our open debate principles. Unfortunately, it was sufficiently late in the process that the Commission On Presidential Debates went forward with their debates as planned. This prompted calls from across the ideological spectrum for the old-school, top-down commission to be abolished.

But now... Open Debates are back! Poised by the important precedent of a Democratic and Republican presidential campaign backing Open Debate principles, we now will form a new precedent: Actually pulling off the first Open Debate. Massachusetts has the honors, and the nation will be watching as Will Brownsberger, Katherine Clark,  Peter Koutoujian, Carl Sciortino, and Karen Spilka debate.

Join the fun and watch on August 10 at 11 am Eastern:

Originally posted to BoldProgressives on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 07:55 AM PDT.

Also republished by Massachusetts Kosmopolitans.

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Comment Preferences

  •  How do good questions "bubble up"? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Doesn't someone have to act as a gatekeeper?  

    Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

    by Big River Bandido on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 08:13:14 AM PDT

  •  Go Mass! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, LouisMartin

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 08:36:02 AM PDT

  •  How do you restrict the questoners? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LouisMartin, ColoTim

    The questions should, reasonably, come from the constituents of the office holders and not from across the world. That would skew the process wouldn't it? Everyone can watch but the questions should be from the locals.

    "if we cannot make our communities safer with the Congress we have now, we will use every means available to make sure we have a different Congress,.. To do nothing while others are in danger is not the American way." - Gabby Giffords

    by daddybunny on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 09:26:37 AM PDT

    •  That's one of my issues with all the calls to (0+ / 0-)

      write to governors or state officials to change policies.  I understand many will do so from other states, and why should we tie one of our hands behind our back, but it's still one of my issues.

      Anyway, I will support these forums and hopefully Colorado will have such a debate, especially between Romanov and Coffman for CO-6.

  •  As corporate media lose influence on the political (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    process, this form of debate will be a part of every campaign.  Actually, in intent, this is closer to what took place through most of the 19th century.  Then, candidates stood before a crowd and answered questions and gave political speeches.  

    The biggest change necessary for reform is to increase the number of seats in the House in order to create HDs with roughly 350,000 eligible voters.  Every problem with the current system would disappear.

    "Never let up. Crush bigotry and greed."

    by LouisMartin on Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 09:52:58 AM PDT

  •  My Pick for President in 2016 (0+ / 0-)

    While the Daily Kos may be endorsing Hillary for president in 2016, I could name at least 1/2 dozen people I find far more suitable.  Let's not forget that neither she nor her husband have clean hands.  Especially in light of his NAFTA trade program that further deteriorated the jobs market in this country.  Unfair trade practices work for the Clintons as long as it builds their own pocket books.  

    No thank you.  I'd be more comfortable voting for a true fighter, and that would be either Elizabeth Warren (who would like to rip the heads off the banksters), Rush Holt who is currently running for the NJ Senate seat vacated by the recent death of Lundgren (think that's his name).  Holt is a scientist and opposed to GMO's, any further oil excavation and more active utilization of renewables, Dick Durbin (he's a fighter for what's right), Congressman Keith Ellison of Minn. who has created more bills than anyone in the House.  Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and Chief Deputy Whip, and not afraid to call out the GOP for being the bobble heads that they are.  

    There's a whole lot of people that I'd much rather see, and who I'd trust a whole lot more than I do Hillary.  So please, why not leave this open for discussion and stop backing someone just because she's a woman.  None of the people I have mentioned above owe any favors to Big Banks, Big Oil, Big Pharm or Big MMI, OR Big anything else, and that's what I want to see for our next elected officials.

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