2012-05-10 / Editorials

And the winner is . . .

Monday’s debate among the candidates running for Congress in California’s 26th District was a direct hit for democracy.

Meeting on a single stage for the first time, the six political hopefuls laid out their positions on a variety of pressing issues facing our nation—including Medicare, illegal immigration and the threat of nuclear proliferation—in front of a standing-room-only crowd inside CLU’s Lundring Events Center.

While no official head count was taken, estimates put the number of folks who came out for the forum at 300 or more. The large crowd coupled with the tight space gave the event the feel of an underground prize fight, with audience members hanging—and ready to pounce—on every word.

This was American democracy at its finest, the candidates and their electorate face-to-face, the room full of citizens not simply satisfied with going to the polling booth but looking to make an educated vote.

Sure, the candidates brought along their cheerleaders, campaign teams and supporters, but there were plenty in attendance who were still truly undecided ahead of the June primary and wanted to see what each challenger had to offer.

Unlike mailers, political ads and stump speeches, debates and forums allow voters to see candidates for who they truly are, not as their opponents try to define them. The increasing amount of weight American voters place on these debates—evidenced by this year’s race for the Republican nomination for president—is a great sign that citizens are tired of being spoon-fed phony narratives and false promises: They want real answers and real solutions.

So while we can debate who the winners and losers at Monday’s debate were—and clearly there were some of each—the only obvious victor was the audience.

If you weren’t able to attend the event, Time Warner Cable will be making it available to its thousands of customers within the district through its Video on Demand service.

Don’t get Time Warner? Find a friend who does, order up some pizza and enjoy good, old-fashioned political candidate combat.

Kudos to the six candidates for braving the tough questions and for having the courage to speak their minds in front of such a raucous crowd. Now the ball’s in your court: Get out and vote on June 5.

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