I couldn’t bear watching more than 15 minutes of the Democratic debates. It was painful. While I’m sure they are all very nice people, this process morphs them into dancing monkeys, answering questions designed to entrap and defending proposals that will never be heard again. It is little different than the equally stupid process used by the 16 candidates for the Republican nomination in 2016. Too much emphasis on showmanship and debate skills. Too little emphasis on firm but thoughtful direction.
The obvious alternative is that we return to the days of smoke-filled rooms when old white men decided the nominee. Speaking as an old white man, that was an equally bad system of selecting nominees, and I hope we never return to it.
How about an alternative, such as keying the nomination to electoral college process. Each party gets the same number of nominee votes as they have electoral votes or 538 votes. They can look at as many candidates as they choose, as long as they want, and take as many votes as they want until one candidate has 270 votes. To satisfy the need to watch conflict, television would be limited to a debate between the final four candidates, before the final vote by the electors. No journalist could be the moderator. Instead, a thoughtful moderator or former political leaders would moderate. Of course, a million details to be worked out.
There are many ideas for a different approach, but like an alcoholic, we must first admit that we have a nominee-picking problem and go from there.