While watching the PBS News Hour, and the coverage of assorted debates, my two brain cells accidentally bumped into each other and produced A Thought:
Instead of the conventional process of asking one of the candidates a question, and then letting the rest of them respond (after having more time to think about it), how about if one of the debates was set up so that the candidates all had the same amount of time to provide a written response, and all the responses were displayed next to each other?
That way, none of them gets any advantage over any other on any given question, we get to find out how well they can think on their feet (no time for polls during a national emergency, for example), we get to see how they express themselves, and -- most important -- they have to express THEIR position(s), versus comparing themselves to someone else.
For me, the ideal would be to have each of them type their response into something like a web page (where they could be limited to some number of characters), but transcriptions of their handwritten or printed responses would work, too.
I mean, it's an idea...