An Independent Voter’s Debate Questions

With presidential campaign season upon us, the debates of the many candidates have started. Yet, we need to make sure we are asking the right questions of the candidates. If the first debate is an indication of what is to come, we are not talking about the issues all Americans want and need to hear about. It would be nice if we followed the British model where the debates are segregated into topics like I have done below.


  • With the economy doing pretty well (stock market doubled since the recession, net new jobs created since January, 2009 at 8 million per the Bureau of Labor Statistics and unemployment down to 5.3%), how will you build on that success?
  • Since not every one has benefitted under the growing economy, what measures would you take to make sure that people in the lower middle class and in poverty can find opportunity?
  • With the Affordable Care Act, while imperfect and complex, working pretty well by a number of measures and sources, what improvements would you make to it? If you would replace it, what would you do instead and how would you manage the transition for the many who might lose care?


  • With Congress continuing to kick the can down the road to invest in our aging infrastructure, would you make building and repairing roads, bridges, railway bridges and track, ports, and electric grid a priority?
  • Would you agree with the statement that investing in our infrastructure is a good investment in jobs for Americans?


  • With climate change starting to impact us more and more due to our influence on the environment, what measures would you take to assure we migrate to more environmentally friendly renewable energy sources building upon the President’s plan to work with states on that mission?
  • With the jobs in renewable energy growing at double digits per annum, what measures would you take to help states invest in retraining of fossil-fuel industry employees and possibly provide temporary pay measures to help in the transition?
  • With water becoming a more dear resource in our country and planet, what measures would you take to help assure its protection and supply?

Global Affairs

  • With global poverty, mal-treatment of women and corruption such huge issues, what is America’s role in helping people and making sure resources get to the folks intended?
  • With the Middle East such a conundrum with disparate groups fighting with and against our allies and support, what would you do differently to define success, assure that it is attainable and define a timeline to get there?
  • With Putin trying to expand Russian influence with inappropriate tactics, what would your position be in dealing with him and supporting our allies?
  • With China’s economic slow down and its appetite for claiming territory in the China Sea, what do you propose America do to support its allies in the region, as well as garner more trade?

Social and economic injustice

  • In addition to the question above, some areas are more down-trodden than others – inner cities, rural towns and areas. What do you propose to provide hope and opportunity to these places?
  • With the “Blacks Lives Matter” campaign which is in reaction to Black men being gun downed by law enforcement officers and domestic terrorists, what do you propose to do to help assure we value those men and communities?
  • With America’s fall in the global rankings of socio-economic mobility, where to whom you were born matters more than your own merit in your success, what else would you propose we do to afford opportunity?

Balance between security and liberty

  • Since 9/11, times have changed in America and planet. The pendulum fulcrum has swung more to security and away from individual liberties. In your view, what is the appropriate balance?
  • Would you support heightened governance over drones, spying, and the NSA than exists today to assure protection, but let us remain true to our quest for individual liberty?

Gun control

  • With America having more gun and child gun deaths than the next twenty-two wealthiest nations combined, what do you propose we do about that?
  • With suicide accounting for two-thirds of our gun deaths in America, what else would you propose we do to limit access to weapons?
  • With Americans supporting background checks on all transactions and extended waiting periods, would you support legislation that would accomplish these things, even though the NRA is a powerful lobby?

I have a few more questions, but these would glean answers from candidates rather than mere words from a campaign slogan. It is easy to say you don’t agree with something, but the key question is what would you do? Also, we need to know how something will be achieved, not just what it is. At the last election Mitt Romney said he would get the unemployment rate down to 6% by 2016. Well, it is 5.3% and still in 2015, so I would expect an “atta-boy” from him to President Obama.

Please take note on issues that I did not mention, as we have heard enough about them. Planned Parenthood is actually a good organization and helps reduce the number of abortions, reduce unwanted pregnancies, and reduce poverty. We should fund it more than it is funded today, not less. Religious Freedom exists today, but it is and should be usurped by individual freedoms if one person’s religion allows unfair discrimination against another in a public transaction. That is the beauty of our constitution and Bill of Rights.

Feel free to react to these questions and offer your own. I would love to hear from you.

28 thoughts on “An Independent Voter’s Debate Questions

  1. Note to Readers: I realize I did not speak to immigration, but the question I would ask is if you would prefer the President did not issue an executive order, would you support the passage of the bipartisan bill which passed the Senate. I would ask that of Marco Rubio first, as he was a co-sponsor and now disassociates himself from his greatest legislative achievement.

  2. Very thoughtful and insightful. Unless candidates are directly confronted, they will try to do everything they can to evade a question. None of these are “gotcha questions” and it would be very informative for the public to hear there answers. I certainly would!

  3. PS: These questions are the “common sense, everyday, affects everybody” types of questions that the media should be focused on, not who’s up or down in the polls or who drew the largest crowd, things that I suspect most people could care less about.

    • Thanks for both your comments. I agree that these are the questions the media and candidates should focus on. Often, the media plays things as if every thing is up for debate, like climate change, when it really is not. Plus, some people limit their news sources, so will view some of my statements as partisan, when they are not.

      • How democracy depends on an informed electorate.I don’t think we can leave that in the hands of the candidates and their handlers. This is where we really need a “free press” that informs rather than play for ratings and sponsors,

      • Well said. Bernie is the one who is doing the best at speaking to the issues. Many candidates don’t know what they are as they are told not to admit some issues are problems.

    • There lies the rub. I just thought of a solution. We get Alec Trebek from Jeopardy to pose each answer and let them write down the question as on Final Jeopardy.

  4. Note to Readers: Another question is would you support a 28th amendment to the constitution which says money does not equate to free speech overturning Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions?

  5. I love these questions, all of them. Sadly, there is not a media outlet that would dare ask them, and certainly not one that would insist upon a straight answer.

    If you noticed, a very significant portion of the Faux News Debate was focused not on major issues, such as health care or infrastructure, but on how they were going to kill Planned Parenthood on day 1. Not a one had a good response on what they’d do in foreign relations, other than increase the military and boots on the ground. Nothing about Black Lives Matter.

    So although I love your questions, and would dearly love to hear all the candidates answers, I don’t see them having a snowballs chance in hell of being answered.

    Having said that, I wish more people would focus on these kinds of questions before going to the ballot box.

    Great post

    • Thanks for your feedback. Fox News should not be part of any debate as they are biased. The way questions are asked leads the viewer to sense something is wrong, when it may not be. Please refer to my response to Hugh. Maybe we should use a Final Jeopardy format. Give everyone the answer and let them write down the question. Or, reverse the poles and ask the question and have them write then later explain their answer.

  6. Pingback: A Question or Two | Views from the Hill

    • Thanks for the endorsement and advertisement. I heard David Brooks, who is a conservative columnist define Trump fans as “low information voters,” so even these questions and answers would not influence them.

  7. Not only would I love to have these questions asked, but also for the moderators to ask follow-up questions, ask for further clarification, not allow an answer to go completely off topic, and not allow the responder to spew talking points with no substance. I’ll be waiting for it to start snowing in Hell…

  8. Another voice crying in the wilderness. My cynicism toward presidential elections brings the phrase “Too Big to Fail” to mind… I may have to write about that… the bankruptcy of the presidency…

    • Thanks for your comments. I would start with Congress who rates even lower. Gerrymandering has allowed even more extremists into the mix taking Congress from bad to worse. They have punted on their role. On the Presidency, the amount of money to get elected is obscene, so it can only corrupt the process.

  9. Answers to these questions will give us a clear view of what to expect and make it easier to make a decision on who to vote for. But I can see the politicians oh-ing and ah-ing to side step the questions just to keep from giving a clear and straight answer.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.