podiums_blackThe Delaware County democrats and the Chester City republicans refuse to debate. For the audience, a debate is one of the only venues both sides come together and respond to questions regarding their candidacy. For the politician, a debate is a political strategy.

Audiences love debates. We love to see how candidates will perform on their feet when asked questions about their positions. We love it even more when the candidates are very opposed in their views. We love it the most if the candidates show some anger and passion resulting in the need to be pulled off of each other by security when they start talking bad about each other’s mother.

I tend to agree with republican campaign manager Clinton Johnson that the call for a debate in Chester came way too late. The NAACP and Delta Sigma Theta requested a debate on the same day Jamaal Martin wrote that letter to the editor citing how quiet the election season was and wondered why there was no debate. I’m sure the timing was purely coincidental, but even if it wasn’t, the call for a debate was late.

Unlike the League of Women Voters who called for a debate for the county candidates around Labor Day, the Chester debate was to be organized in less than two weeks. That’s not to say a debate still couldn’t happen in Chester, but it would require an immediate change in campaign strategy and resources to accommodate that request by both sides at a time when they are putting the wraps on a campaign effort that will end a week later.

As a courtesy to the candidates, you’d think the NAACP and Delta Sigma Theta would have requested a debate a lot earlier. It would have given them adequate time to organize the event, promote it to the voters, and allow the candidates to prepare. With less than two weeks notice, you’re practically left with devoting a large portion of those days preparing for the debate and abandoning your other plans.

If you’re going to have an debate, don’t just throw one together, especially when it appears it’s being caused from a letter to the editor. An earlier invitation to debate would have eliminated all excuses to participate and the event wouldn’t have to be pieced together at the very last minute.

The Chester democrats say they are ready to debate at the drop of a hat and the republicans say they would need more time. If this was done properly, we could have had the debate the city deserves. Now, we’re left with more finger pointing.

Click to read the Delcotime.com article on the Chester debate