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Media Government The Internet Politics

YouTube to Host Presidential Debate 180

Posted by Zonk
from the bringing-dancing-cats-to-the-world-of-politics dept.
skotte writes "Wired is reporting that July 23 at the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, Anderson Cooper will host presidential debates in which debaters are asked 20-30 questions culled from a specially designated section of YouTube, where the voting populace can post questions directly. You and I (assuming you're American, probably) can ask questions ourselves, not just a reporter in a crowd. Candidates won't know which questions they are being asked, and the video selection process will remain a complete secret. Interesting, but also the slightest bit scary."
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YouTube to Host Presidential Debate

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  • by j00r0m4nc3r (959816) on Friday June 15, 2007 @03:25PM (#19523225)
    0b4m4, u r like totally teh r0x0r! U r in my computerz stealing my votez!!
    • by b100dian (771163)
      In computer or not, one thing concers me:

      Candidates won't know which questions they are being asked.

      Is that also true when they are formulating their answers?

      I thought so..
  • Been done before (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Harmonious Botch (921977) * on Friday June 15, 2007 @03:27PM (#19523247) Homepage Journal
    Ok, video is new, but this has been done before with more traditional formats. We've seen questions from the audience - sometimes even live - to presidential candidates before. The problem has always been not the questions, but the answers. Ask any question you want, but there is no way to compel the candidate to really answer it. Most don't.

    What they do is speak about the topic with prepared mini-speeches...

    Voter: Sir, does the right to free speech mean I can burn a flag?

    Candidated: Let me tell you, I stand second to none in my love for the flag or this great country that it stands for. That flag represents all the people who have risked their lives and died to save her...

    And after ten minutes of posturing and spouting non-sequiturs, he still will not have said yes or no. But for some reason, most people do not seem to notice the fact.

    What we need is not a new way of asking questions, but a new way of getting answers.

    I personally favor the rack.
    • by HellYeahAutomaton (815542) on Friday June 15, 2007 @03:37PM (#19523389)
      It absolutely annoys me in the mainstream (Democratic and Republican) debates that all of the candidates don't get to answer the same question.

      During the Rep. debate that just occurred, but was also annoying was that the candidates were not self-policing their own timers, as well as talking over the moderator who wanted to interrupt them. This makes both the moderator and the candidates look like amateurs. Perhaps the idea is to shut off their microphones when they run out of time.

      Please people, get your point across, and do it in a timely manner.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Well, it seems to me that there are too many candidates on the stage (for both parties.) There were 10? at the last republican debate... 8 IIRC at the democratic debate. The moderator uses up 35-40% of the official time of 90 minutes asking questions .. all of the candidates are in a frenzy to make their trademark soundbites before the buzzer.. it's a fucking gameshow.

        Luckily it's still early but some of these guys like Gravel, Tancredo, Thompson have all gotta go, just get them off the stage.
        • Why do the 24/7 news channels that host these debates feel the need to impose a 90 minute time limit on a debate with 10 participants?

      • by eln (21727) on Friday June 15, 2007 @04:51PM (#19524549) Homepage
        Perhaps the idea is to shut off their microphones when they run out of time.

        Electrical shocks. Send them steadily more powerful electrical shocks until they shut up. At the very least, it will make the debates more entertaining.
        • by gozu (541069)
          That is fucking brilliant man! You are the savior of politics! It would also weed out candidates with weak hearts who can't handle the stress.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by moogle001 (563970)
        Heaven forbid we expect that discussing solutions for our problems in Iraq, with immigration, health care, and so on might take more than one minute. Those really complex issues might even take a whole ten minutes! Good thing we have the media to ensure our attention span remains short and we focus on those soundbites which take 10 seconds.
      • by Jon Abbott (723)
        Bingo. I think that rather than having a short televised debate, they should pre-record it and let the debate run for hours or even days. No question would go unasked to each candidate. Let candidates take as much time as they need to answer the questions (within reason). Then post the whole thing online in segments so that anyone can watch any part of it, random-access style. For example, if you wanted to know more about a candidate, you could watch a video that combines all of the segments where he o
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 15, 2007 @03:39PM (#19523425)

      I personally favor the rack.
      So you're voting for Hillary?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Timesprout (579035)
      Exactly what I was thinking. Even the rotweiller interviewers on the BBC's NewsNight team frequently can't even get a yes or no answer from their political interviewees to simple direct questions. Is it embarassing for the politicians? Yes, but no where near as damaging for most of them as opening their mouths to demonstrate just how incompetent they are. Most politicians are accomplished media actors these days and highly adept at taking 5 mins and 6 thousand words to say absolutely nothing of any meaning
      • by stinerman (812158) <nathan.stineNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday June 15, 2007 @03:50PM (#19523577) Homepage
        It's quite obvious why they don't answer the question directly. They aren't sure which side of the issue 50%+1 of the populace is on. Furthermore, if you don't answer the question directly, you don't run the risk of alienating some people who might vote for you.

        This is one reason I like Ron Paul. He and I don't agree on everything, but he's not afraid to say what he thinks. He's authentic, and I think that is why people are gravitating toward him. They know that no one wants to abolish the Depts. of Education, Homeland Security, etc. because he thinks it's going to get him votes. He does so because that is what he truly believes.

        I'll take a true believer that I disagree with on some substantive issues over someone that can't decide if they are for or against something until they see the polls.
        • I don't want a President who walks the party line, but I've also had enough of a President that does whatever the hell they want without regard to other's opinions. I want to see a President who has things he or she wants to get done, but who doesn't just talk about them to the press. I want a President who actively encourages legislators from both sides of the aisle to know one another as people, rather than opponents.
        • by G27 Radio (78394)
          That's what it really boils down to for me too. The rest are just going say what they think we want to hear, then do what their funding sources want them to do. I just finished a little rant about this. It went something like this:

          Don't wait for the mainstream media to pick your presidential candidates for you otherwise you'll be voting for the lesser of two sell-outs. Voting in November 2008 alone is not going to get us out of this mess. If you want a change you need to start doing your research now so
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by shma (863063)
          I'll take a true believer that I disagree with on some substantive issues over someone that can't decide if they are for or against something until they see the polls.

          I think 8 years of 'true believer' government is quite enough. I'd rather go with a politically savvy candidate willing to change his mind than someone who will hold fast to the wrong ideas even as he witnesses their disasterous results.
          • by stinerman (812158)
            I beg to differ that Bush is a true believer. It pays to remember that he ran on a platform that included "no nation building" or "policing the world".
            • by shma (863063)
              To me that only shows that he is both politically savvy and a liar (your arguments are from 2000, but he presented a fake 'softer side' in the 2004 presidential election as well). In my view, whether or not you are a 'true believer' is determined by your actions, not your words. And while his posturing and justifications for his actions may have changed, his actions have remained consistent. Don't forget, the people in his administration that were the most adamant about attacking Iraq (contrary to the campa
        • It's quite obvious why they don't answer the question directly. They aren't sure which side of the issue 50%+1 of the populace is on.
          Is that necessarily a bad thing, though? I mean, isn't the president supposed to lean more towards the side of the Math.floor(50%+1)?
        • by ajs (35943)

          Sisko > Picard > Kirk > Archer > * > Janeway

          ... joking of course ...

          Here is exactly the kind of question we should be posing to candidates. "Who was the best captain on a Star Trek show." There are three possible results:

          * You say "Kirk," and some people agree, and thus you win their vote.
          * You say "Picard," and some people agree, and thus you win their vote.
          * You say something which demonstrates you have no right leading round of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," much less the United States executive branch.

          Problem solved. ;-)

    • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@yBLUEahoo.com minus berry> on Friday June 15, 2007 @03:44PM (#19523501) Homepage Journal
      The moderator person should ask "Was that a yes or no on the previous question.".

      The canadate should have 4 choices:
      yes
      no
      refuse to answer
      leave

      But it must be exactly on of those, nothing else.
      • Re:Been done before (Score:4, Interesting)

        by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday June 15, 2007 @03:57PM (#19523699) Homepage Journal

        But it must be exactly on of those, nothing else.

        I think yes, no, or refuse to answer should be the opening of their answer, and be Required to be so, but I still want to hear the justification for their position.

      • by Harmonious Botch (921977) * on Friday June 15, 2007 @03:59PM (#19523729) Homepage Journal
        You are letting them off too easily. The candidate should have 3 choices:
        1) yes
        2) no
        3) Oh, God, nooo!!! Please don't turn that crank again!! I'll answer the question!
        • by tknd (979052)
          You've just made it even easier. Now they have a 1 in 3 chance of guessing the right answer.
      • by griffjon (14945) <`GriffJon' `at' `gmail.com'> on Friday June 15, 2007 @04:03PM (#19523783) Homepage Journal
        American politics has been stripped of the shades of gray enough as it is - how would a moderate republican who supports abortion in cases of rape, incest or the health of the mother respond to an "Abortion: Yes or no?" question adequately? Fine, require a "straight" answer of yes or no, but don't prohibit explanations of why they hold that position.
        • "Senator Clinton, Have you stopped beating your husband?"
      • by kabocox (199019) on Friday June 15, 2007 @04:03PM (#19523797)
        The canadate should have 4 choices:
        yes
        no
        refuse to answer
        leave

        But it must be exactly on of those, nothing else.


        Um, that wouldn't be very good no one would ever show up for a "debate" if they only allowed 4 canned answers. A debate should be a bit more indepth than yes, no, i don't know, or I don't really have a position on that subject.
        • by HobophobE (101209)
          I think the intention of that suggestion is that the candidates wouldn't be able to weasel out of giving an answer to questions as they always do. Always. In the recent CNN debates Wolf Blitzer said it was a rule that the candidates stay on topic of the question presented to them, and he'd often follow up and reiterate the question when they strayed, but most of the time they'd still never answer it.

          I agree that if they were forced to answer questions they'd simply not debate, but then maybe we'd see some c
        • by pipingguy (566974) *
          Maybe there could be canned laughter also.
      • by Angostura (703910)
        So presumably, you think that all questions on - say - Slashdot should be answerable with one of those answers?
      • by guspasho (941623)
        Exactly one of those? How exactly would one leave and not have also chosen one of the other three?
      • by Sancho (17056)
        So, have you stopped beating your wife, yet?
      • Hey thats a great idea! Take a soundbyted, media driven exchange of ideas and make it even more worthless by removing any semblence of intellectual discussion of the question at hand! Fantastic!

        You moron.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      > And after ten minutes of posturing and spouting non-sequiturs, he still will not have said yes or no.

      This is one of the reasons I started to support Howard Dean back in 2004. He was being interviewed on TV, and he was asked a question--I don't remember what it was, and it's not important now--and without even pausing, he answered "No, and I'll tell you why."

      A straight answer from a presidential candidate. The sound of my jaw dropping could be heard for several blocks.
      • by Captain Splendid (673276) <capsplendid@gmail. c o m> on Friday June 15, 2007 @04:16PM (#19524005) Homepage Journal
        A straight answer from a presidential candidate. The sound of my jaw dropping could be heard for several blocks.

        Yeah, and we all saw what the media did to him. The reason we don't have have straight-answer-type pols is because the media's decided they're silly. Sort out the media, and you'll be good to go.
        • Sort out the media, and you'll be good to go.

          Sure... right after I shave my pterodactyl.

          Sorting out the media is impossible; the media is bigger than any of us because it answers to the LCD of the population. It's a vehicle for selling products to the gullible and little else. Get the media to stop chasing ratings, and hence advertising dollars? Good luck with that.

          As far as I'm concerned, the best thing to do if we want better leaders is to prohibit visual likenesses of them in the two years leading u

          • because it answers to the LCD of the population

            That's an assumption, and a faulty one at that. Who's to say people get sex & violence because they like it, not because that's all they get?
            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              That's an assumption, and a faulty one at that. Who's to say people get sex & violence because they like it, not because that's all they get?

              Saying that it's all they get is frankly a big load of shit. There's a reason PBS ain't the most watched network in the US and it's not because people can't pull the signal in.

              The average TV watcher has spoken, and what they have said is "duhhhhh"

              Let's face it, people who like to use their brains comprise a small niche market on this planet.

          • by rtb61 (674572)
            The better option is to take old world media out of the equation. Surely something like this can be better handled at congress for example. Where existing congressmen could publicly ask potential presidential candidates questions and those would be publicly answered under oath (could also be extended to other major government positions) as there is more than one side represented in congress there would be aggressive thought provoking questions as well as lame duck set ups.

            The congressional library could t

    • "I personally favor the rack"

      Yup, bring out an intern with a nice enough rack and he might just tell her anything she wants to know

      or is that yet another non-sequitor?

    • Ask any question you want, but there is no way to compel the candidate to really answer it. Most don't.


      When most questions asked are of the "Have you stopped beating your wife?" variety, I don't really blame them for not answering.

      We need better answers and better questions.

      -- Should you believe authority without question?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by theuedimaster (996047)
      "And after ten minutes of posturing and spouting non-sequiturs, he still will not have said yes or no. But for some reason, most people do not seem to notice the fact."

      Actually, quite a lot of people do. We've just all given up on trying to get anything better.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by AzureWraith (737437)
      1. Allow all candidates to watch a short debate of experts -- with a fraud or two thrown in -- and ask them to evaluate what they just heard and why they reached the conclusion they did.

      http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevoluti on/2007/05/how_to_improve_.html [marginalrevolution.com]

      I personally like this.
    • by Triv (181010)

      Voter: Sir, does the right to free speech mean I can burn a flag?

      I don't know about you, but the candidate who answers yes. to that and says nothing else, gets my vote. Or at least gets my respect. I'm sick of the equivocation.

    • Will this thing be creative commons licensed? Come on Google--don't be evil.
  • by sfjoe (470510) on Friday June 15, 2007 @03:28PM (#19523255)

    You voted in favor of the Iraq war. If you can be mislead by a bungling fool like George Bush, how can we trust you as President to deal with world leaders who are actually intelligent?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      If you can be mislead by a bungling fool like George Bush, how can we trust you as President to deal with world leaders who are actually intelligent?
      That's easy ... just get me elected as the leader of some other country and they can deal with a leader who isn't actually intelligent. ;-)
      • Flamebait? Flamebait?

        I use self deprecating humor to call myself someone "who isn't actually intelligent" and some chuckle-head with mod points thinks I'm flaming myself? Maybe I should tag myself as a Foe. That would teach me. Oy ... someone cash in your mod points and buy a fukcing sense of humor.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pluther (647209)
      Yeah, that was in one of my letters to her that her staff never bothered to send me even a form letter response for.

      "You say you were mislead about the war. I wasn't mislead. How come you were? A significant part of your job is to research these things yourself and keep yourself better informed than I am. What were you doing instead?"
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Khaed (544779)
      Careful, you might get labeled as part of a "Vast Right Wing Conspiracy" by daring to ask her a question that, y'know, isn't approved by her staff first.

      Seriously, if Hillary Clinton gets the nomination, how is she going to debate anyone on the Republican side? Bush isn't running again, so it's not like she's going to get served up a moron. She says far too many stupid things -- like John Kerry did. And when you lose a race -- basically because you say stupid things -- to George W. Bush that's the first sig
      • by frdmfghtr (603968)

        It's like losing an ass kicking contest with a one legged man. People just stare in awe and wonder, How did he fuck that up? It was a sure thing!

        This is quite off topic, but listen to this clip from Dave and Carole, the morning team at 96.5 WKLH:

        Mort has a case of road rage [wklh.com] The relevant part starts about halfway through the clip.

        Background: 'Mort Snotlocker' had both legs amputated some time ago (true story...he really did)

    • You voted for that idiot. Twice. How can we be sure you're qualified to determine which (if any) of the candidates is actually competent to lead this country? I mean shit, several thousand of you could not even figure out how to use a fucking ballot the first time around!
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        You voted for that idiot. Twice. How can we be sure you're qualified to determine which (if any) of the candidates is actually competent to lead this country?

        Bush never won the popular vote and if he even got the electoral vote the one time he supposedly fairly got that I'll eat my pants.

        But maybe you're kidding, so I won't call you names.

        • by Greyfox (87712)
          I'm mostly kidding but the kernel of the question is rather serious. How do we prevent the debacle of the past 8 years (by the time it's time to vote again) from happening again. How does a C-Earning*, Coke snorting, draft dodging yahoo like that get to run the country**? How does Congress -- ALL of Congress -- get behind his petty need to prove that he could do the job that Daddy didn't***? How does Congress, even now, allow themselves to be outmaneuvered by that? How the HELL do we make sure it NEVER happ
    • by guspasho (941623)
      What makes you think George W. Bush is a bungling fool rather than simply an evil, manipulative, deceptive liar?

      Not to start whole other debate which I realize I run the risk of doing, but Bush knew damn well before we went to war that there was no basis for it. By that point, all the inspectors and intelligence except what was ginned up by the White House had found nothing - Bush claimed this was evidence Saddam was hiding his capability rather than evidence Saddam had destroyed his capability. The only on
  • by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Friday June 15, 2007 @03:28PM (#19523259) Journal
    It'll just end up getting reposted with some god awful hip-hop soundtrack and clips from Halo.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mastropiero (258677)
      And the questions will be spammed out into oblivion with posts like: "In 1923 a little girl called mary was found dead with the word yram in her back. You have been cursed now. Now your daddy will get clamydia unless you repost this in 74 more videos"
  • ... edit the video so it has one of those cats that falls off the TV or a jackass doing a Jackass stunt or a fake video blogger faking their video blog or something. I mean please, they have to do something to make it interesting. If they don't it'll just seem like the same answers & message over and over and over ... kind of like watching the Weather Channel on TiVo or listening to your wife remind you what a schmuck you are.
    • In case it wasn't obvious, the Presidential Debates aren't there for your amusement and entertainment. They're supposed to give you an idea of where the candidates stand on important issues and what they're going to do if they're elected to the office. I'm sorry you find that boring; I don't.

      I don't know if you're kidding or not, but people with attitudes like the one expressed here frustrate me. Because of their constant demand for entertainment over information, we have a media that caters to the sen

      • In case it wasn't obvious, the Presidential Debates aren't there for your amusement and entertainment. They're supposed to give you an idea of where the candidates stand on important issues and what they're going to do if they're elected to the office. I'm sorry you find that boring; I don't.

        The reason it's boring is that they are full of shit. They stand up there and disseminate in the most useless fashion possible until their time is up. And as others have said, if a candidate actually comes out and says

  • Ron Paul (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 15, 2007 @03:31PM (#19523305)
    I hope they don't allow Ron Paul on this. Ron Paul would be a disaster for socialism, internationalism, and government sponsored murder and tyranny in this nation and around the world. We cannot allow this man to speak. He is a terrorist.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Also, Rudy "America's Mayor" Giuliani appears to be an ignorant, bafoon ready to rush headfirst in to the next quagmire that even looks like it would "fight terror" next to him.

      I mean here we have Ron Paul, a long shot candidate that is clearly more in touch with reality than any of the front runners. Then we have Rudy Giuliani who seems like he would be better suited to a roll as a "news" reporter for Faux News than as a President, but is considered a top tier candidate.

      It's almost like the Republican
    • The crossdresser? He's running for president?
  • by OctoberSky (888619) on Friday June 15, 2007 @03:35PM (#19523347)
    "Senator Obama, which do you prefer? Anarchy, Socialism, Communism or CowboyNealism?
  • "Mr. or Mrs. presidential hopeful, from which tube do you think this video question came?"
    Potential answers:

    The tube connected to your house (R).
    The tube down which our country has gone (D).
    Why, YouTube, of course (I)!
  • Anonymity? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HTH NE1 (675604) on Friday June 15, 2007 @03:37PM (#19523405)

    the voting populace can post questions directly. You and I... can ask questions ourselves, not just a reporter in a crowd. Candidates won't know which questions they are being asked, and the video selection process will remain a complete secret.
    So the questions will be presented in video format....

    Can I ask mine while wearying a Guy Fawkes mask [amazon.com]?
  • by Dogtanian (588974) on Friday June 15, 2007 @03:41PM (#19523453) Homepage
    Do a Google search on "Commission on Presidential Debates"; you might be interested in what you find. Or you might not. :-/
  • by Guanine (883175) on Friday June 15, 2007 @03:43PM (#19523499)
    Has anyone read the comments on YouTube? I've never seen a more putrid cesspool of thoughtless idiocy. Why does anyone expect the questions for the candidates from the community to be any better in quality than the comments?
  • Scary ? Doesn't scare me a bit. If it scares the candidates, good. If we're lucky some of the bozos will crash and burn. (I remember well that Reagan couldn't field questions from a bunch of high school academic acheivers; pity they didn't run the 1980 debates.)
  • Here's an idea (Score:2, Insightful)

    by JamesP (688957)
    Whenever a candidate starts complaining about net neutrality and saying the market should regulate itself, we start dropping packages. After all, "his speech is cloggin' the tubes"...

  • Al Gore should respond by posting a video of himself using a fart fire to light a candle - excellent way to get the write-in vote without even running!
  • Interesting... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Notquitecajun (1073646) on Friday June 15, 2007 @04:39PM (#19524345)
    Someone is going to get their 15 minutes of fame out of this by asking some poignant and unanswered question that people are going to view over and over. What WILL be answered are "blah" questions offered by clean-cut "respectable"-looking folks, half of which I could easily believe are plants. Crazy people/conspiracy theorists/tattooed whackos/Green Party folks won't get airtime.
  • Seriously I've seen Obama reaching out to youTube and I've heard all the others reaching out to the internet, but seriously who believes it? Do you really think Obama even looks at youTube for anything other than the stupid funny moment of the night? I know I don't and I have more time than him.

    In America we have a problem, the voters are realizing that puppet number one or jackass number two isn't going to really change the country. Many of us are losing interest in politics, and those who are still int
  • by Quila (201335)
    This is cool, but how can we force them to actually answer the hard questions they'll get? They're so used to scripted responses that I don't think they'll know how.
  • Bait and switch (Score:5, Interesting)

    by guspasho (941623) on Friday June 15, 2007 @05:20PM (#19524909)
    The Politico, a right-wing news site, ran this same scam ahead of one of the GOP debates a few months back. They held a contest to have the most popular question submitted be asked during the debate they were sponsoring.

    This questions topped the heap at the end of the contest.

    * Should the President have power to imprison U.S. citizens without charging them with a crime and without providing them a judicial forum in which they can contest the accusations against them, as the Bush administration did to American Jose Padilla?

    * Do you think the process of waterboarding -- where the U.S. takes prisoners, straps them to a chair, and pours water on their face so they are in terror of drowning to death -- is a practice consistent with America's moral credibility in the world?

    * A recent worldwide poll showed that under the Bush presidency, America has become the third most unpopular country in the world -- right behind Iran and just ahead of North Korea. Why do you believe that has that happened?

    The winner never got asked, nor any of the other top vote-getting questions. Instead we had them asking inane questions about whether the candidates believed in evolution and a bunch of cheap shots at Bill Clinton.
  • Now that a significant number of people in the country have HDTV and high resolution monitors, why are we seeing an explosion of videos that are embarrassingly low quality?

  • Moderator: Senator, this next question is from YouTube user Daxflame [youtube.com]. He asks "Do you think my girlfriend GreenTeaGirlie is really a robot or not?".

    k.
  • Who gets to pick the questions that the candidates won't answer?

    It is telling that the questions won't be picked by the number of times viewed.

  • "where the voting populace can post questions directly." /ahem

    "Why the fuck should I care when it's still the middle of 2007, and even when November 2008 rolls around we'll be stuck with the two candidates that got on the general ballot by pandering to their parties' extremists, resulting in the umpteenth election in a row where only a slim majority of the registered voters (who themselves are less than a majority of the enfranchised) bother to show up at the polls?"

    Alternatively:

    "Do the candidates apprecia

"The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was." -- Walt West

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