To the editor: After a long and puffy speech by Stephen Douglas during one of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, Lincoln asked the audience, “How many legs would a horse have if you called his tail a leg?” “Five,” called out some of the onlookers. “Four,” replied Lincoln. “Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it true.” Similarly, calling the gathering of the Democratic presidential candidates this week a “debate” doesn’t make it true. (“The Democratic presidential candidates will do something tonight, just don’t call it a debate,” opinion, June 26)
President Eisenhower had serious doubts about the value of debates in a presidential election, as he opined they tended to be a test of reaction time rather than a genuine exposition of the participants’ philosophies and programs.
To prevent these joint appearances from being boring, they might adopt a format similar to the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates. No more questions from reporters or the audience. Just have the candidates state their respective positions and then question each other.
Norman G. Axe, Santa Monica
To the editor: In 2015-2016, there was a herd of 17 Republican candidates for president who negated one another by sharing campaign funding, diluted votes in the primary, and elected and established the least qualified candidate for president.
We have a mirror image of the 2015-2016 Republican situation with the herd of Democrats running for president in the 2020 election. These candidates want to feed their egos and gain name recognition for future local elections.
Most of these Democratic candidates are unqualified to be president, and one of them could end up running against the current unqualified Republican incumbent in 2020.
As an Independent, I vote for the candidate who is most qualified for the position. If the Republican and Democratic candidates for president are not qualified, then I will vote for myself.
Donald Moskowitz, Londonderry, NH