Monday, April 25 at 7pm EDT Rep. David Jolly (R) and Rep. Alan Grayson (D) went head-to-head and answered YOUR questions in a groundbreaking Open Debate moderated by The Young Turks' Cenk Uygur and Independent Journal Review's Benny Johnson.
Miss the debate? Click here to watch the video!
If you have ever wanted to ask a question at a political debate, the Open Debate Coalition may be paving the way for you.
The group has organized a debate next week between two U.S. Senate candidate in Florida who will answer questions proposed and selected by an online community. The candidates, Republican Rep. David Jolly and Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson are running for the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Marco Rubio. Rep. Patrick Murphy, another Democratic candidate in the race, declined an invitation, organizers said.
The principle, as declared by the Open Debate Coalition members in a joint statement, is that "the public should be empowered to conceive and select debate questions – so that questions addressed by candidates represent the will of the people."
The Open Debate Coalition is hoping their "bottom-up Open Debate" format can become a model for other political debates, including presidential contests. Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform and part of the Open Debate Coalition, said "I am very glad the candidates agreed to use this innovative format and will answer questions that are submitted and voted on by the public. Hopefully, numerous Open Debates happen this 2016 cycle — including in the race for president."
Normally, the press frames important US election debates by choosing the questions and controlling the video broadcast. For the first time, however, the public will decide the agenda in a clash over a contested US Senate seat. Republican David Jolly and Democrat Alan Grayson are vying for Marco Rubio's vacated Florida Senate post, and will lock horns on April 25th at 7PM eastern time in the Florida Open Debate. The public will be able to submit questions for the event, hosted by the Open Debate Coalition, starting today at 6AM until the cut-off at 12PM ET on April 25th.
While the contested seat is in Florida, anyone can submit and vote on questions. Only Florida ballots will count, but "others can cast votes to impact which questions are trending or most seen on the site -- influencing which questions Florida voters see and vote on most," according to the Open Debate Coalition. The top 30 questions will make the cut, and a group of moderators will decide which of those to ask candidates.
Moderators include The Young Turks, a top YouTube news channel, and the Independent Journal Review, a Vine channel with nearly 40 million monthly visitors.
A key part of the debate is the open video feed, which allows "any website or TV station [to] broadcast the debate live or re-broadcast later without worrying about copyright." The coalition hopes the feed will open the debate up to a lot more viewers, especially cord-cutters that would never watch such an event on, say, Fox or MSNBC.
Online users will be able to submit questions, and vote questions up or down. The top 30 vote-getting questions will get asked. Only votes from Florida users will count when selecting the final questions.
Debate moderators include The Young Turks (of YouTube fame) and Independent Journal Review (of Vine fame). Anyone with a website or TV station will be able to broadcast the debate, live or as a rerun, without worrying about copyright infringement, as part of the debate's "open video feed."
"This debate represents a new high-water mark when it comes to debates that represent the will of the people," Lilia Tamm, the coalition's program director, said in a statement. "Bottom-up Open Debates unite people across the political spectrum because they are not about right versus left, but new versus old. With modern technology, we can utilize the wisdom of crowds at FloridaOpenDebate.com and bypass silly questions, gotcha questions, and questions about the news of the week -- and focus on issues voters care about most."
U.S. Senate candidates Alan Grayson and David Jolly will face off Monday night in an unusual "open debate" in which the public can submit questions and vote on what questions they want asked.
U.S. Reps. Grayson, D-Orlando, and Jolly, R-Indian Shores, more than six weeks ago agreed to debate each other, declaring themselves (without convincing evidence) the clear frontrunners for their respective party's senate nominations. Then a bi-partisan group called the Open Debate Coalition stepped up to host the debate, which will include an open video feed, allowing any website or TV station to broadcast it live or re-broadcast it later without worrying about copyright.
Anyone across the country can submit and vote on questions, but only Florida votes will be counted when selecting questions. Others can cast votes to impact which questions are trending or most seen on the site, influencing which questions Florida voters see and vote on most.
Said Jolly: “The people decide elections. The people deserve a larger role in which questions get selected and asked.”
Grayson said "the Open Debate Coalition model helps ensure we actually respond to the will of the people – and not just answer to the whims and wishes of the Establishment and special interest agendas.”
The April 25 event will be between Democrat Alan Grayson and Republican David Jolly, both of whom are in heated fights for their party’s nomination.
The event his being hosted by the Open Debate Coalition, which is holding what organizers are calling a first-of-its-kind attempt to bring political debates “fully into the internet age.”
“This debate represents a new high-water mark when it comes to debates that represent the will of the people,” said Lilia Tamm, the coalition’s program director.
The format will include submitted questions. Of those, the moderators will have to select the 30 that receive the most support. Questions can be submitted and voted on at FloridaOpenDebate.com from 6 a.m. Tuesday to 12 p.m. April 25.
Jolly and Grayson will debate for Florida’s U.S. Senate race Monday in a format to be broadcast on the internet. The very existence of the debate, which Grayson and Jolly announced with no details March 1, is controversial because it features just one Republican of five major candidates and just one Democrat of at least two major candidates. And it has them facing off four months before anyone has a chance to become their parties’ nominees in the Aug. 30 U.S. Senate primaries.