Watching the presidential debates and especially the fact-checking segments that followed on some stations, it occurred to me that a somewhat different format might be helpful. How would it work if the candidates (1) were each asked a question by the moderator, (2) each answered the question, (3) fact checkers then responded to what the candidates said, and (4) the candidates responded to the fact checkers. Then another question would be asked, answered, fact-checked, and responded to by the candidates. And so on. While this might take a bit longer, it would force the candidates to give more attention to the accuracy of their statements and would surely elevate the level of political discourse.
The current debate format actually encourages the candidates to make statements that are only partially true (or completely false) simply because there is no face-to-face confrontation over their exaggerations and, yes, even lies. Candidates need to be held accountable for their statements—directly and in full view of the voters.