Sunlight's senior strategic consultant, Micah Sifry, has a really nice op ed in the NY Daily News today, that pretty much summarizes my thoughts about CNN's YouTube debate two nights ago. (He has taught me well.) A big step forward BUT….
Imagine if the next time there's a presidential candidates debate on TV, you could go online to vote beforehand on which questions should be asked, and the top choices from the public were included in the mix. Imagine that during the debate you also could grade the candidates' answers, and see how your peers and the rest of the public were grading them, in real time.
Go even further, and imagine the debate's host turning to one of the candidates and saying, 'Hold on, senator. Three-quarters of the people watching right now on the Web have just said that they'd like you to go back to the question they just asked you, because they feel you didn't answer it at all.'
As Micah points out, all of this is possible now. Maybe with an initial success under its belt, CNN and others will go further next time. (If you missed the debate, check out TalkingPointsMemo's 10 minute video recap.) We'd certainly like to see some of this tried in some Congressional debates too.