Rebooting the Presidential Debates

Updated: Feb 3, 2019

Exploring the Link Between Political Debates and Reality TV


It's now commonplace to hear that presidential elections are following a reality TV format. Most people seem to view this as a negative. Our argument is that, if the voters are able to run the show, embracing this format may actually be a step in the right direction.


The truth is that reality entertainment has always been apart of our elections due to the debate process. We are all familiar with the televised debates on cable news networks and via digital platforms during presidential elections.


Despite the fact that debates are still setting records in terms of viewership, they are generally described using the following characteristics:


1. Frustrating

2. Superficial

3. Disingenuous speech & behavior

4. Feeding into the cult of personality

5. Repetitive rhetoric

6. Unsubstantiated claims

7. Polarizing

8. Uninformative

9. Misleading

10. Unfair access & moderation


But we still watch... for the competition. Whether it's vocal performances, cooking skills, or political debate, we watch these reality shows because we want to know who's going to win.

The problem with the presidential debates is that there's rarely a clear winner. In this regard, debates should function like reality competition shows more than they already do.


What if we were to take televised debates to the next logical level? What if the debates were not organized by a hierarchy biased against candidates outside of the two-party system? What if debates were streamed live on a digital platform people could use to fact-check in real time and to vote for a debate winner instantly? What if the candidates were there based on how they are trending and their merit as opposed to which of the two parties they are aligned with?


The reality show alluded to by these questions is precisely what PurpleState™ intends to create.

The PurpleState™ initiative can be defined as a people-driven effort to establish a digital, multimedia platform designed to allow users to select or run as independent candidates.


If you support our initiative and want to get involved, go to our Get Involved page and find out more about how you can help.


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