U.S. presidential debate formats that would have gone better than what happened on September 29

Alternatives that may sway your vote if two white guys yelling at each other doesn’t tick your ballot

PHOTO: Charles Deluvio / Unsplash

By: Kyla Dowling, SFU Student

I know what you’re thinking: what the flag-thumping-fuck was that Trump-Biden debate? There’s nothing worse than chugging tequila thinking “oh, this might be easier to sit through if I make it a drinking game,” only to realize as you’re driven to the hospital for alcohol poisoning that A) having a Libra as a moderator was a horrible idea and B) facism never looked so orange. Let’s take a look at some ideas for the format of the next debate that might be more productive than that dumpster fire — and may lead to an actually funny SNL parody (hopefully with Pete Davidson playing Biden. I’d just like to see that.)


  • A Karaoke-Off


It’s every theatre kid’s dream and every normal person’s nightmare. I imagine Trump starting with a rendition of white-trash anthem “Sweet Home Alabama.” He’ll probably get dubbed over, just like Zac Efron did in High School Musical (sorry to have to break this news to you so abruptly. Now your dreams of Troy Bolton and the United States as a whole are both crushed.) 

Biden, however, seems likely to go the hip-with-the-kids route — even though there’s nothing less hip-with-the-kids than picking a cop as your VP. Personally, I’d like to see him rap “Fuck Donald Trump,” but given that he plays it safe, he’ll probably go for something from Hamilton (told you the theatre kids would be happy.) 

Side note, imagine the power Kanye would have here if he had stayed in the running. The mention of independence arises and he just goes, “Your titties, let ‘em out, free at last. Thank God almighty, they free at last . . .”


  • Kahoot


Is there anything that brings more fury and violence than Kahoot? Designed to be played in grade school classrooms, this is the perfect option for these two candidates that act like children. With Kahoot, there’s no grey area. When asked “do you condemn white supremacy?” Trump can’t tell the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by” because YEAH, that was a thing that happened (???) Instead, all he has to do is click that red “yes” button. 

Kahoot is also time-sensitive, which will help Biden avoid prefacing every answer with “well . . . here’s the deal” and waving his hands around a bunch. If wanted, the American people can even play along! Now that’s a better voting system than the mail-corrupting mess of the USA, folks. 


  • American Ninja Warrior


What better way is there to stress to the candidates that they’re too old for this job than with an athletic competition? Due to Trump’s heavy steroids because of his “mild” COVID-19 symptoms, he “feels better than he did 20 years ago” and really wants us to believe that he has the advantage. So let’s ignore the debilitating illness that he has and send this 74-year-old man through a physically taxing obstacle course that only three people have ever completed. I’m sure nothing bad will happen! Well, nothing bad by my standards. 


  • MasterChef


Being a chef and being a politician need the same amount of experience: none. Just ask Remy from Ratatouille! The rat had no cooking experience and straight-up vibed his way into a job by pulling some dude’s hair. I’d take this rat as president over the other two rats in suits any day. 

Biden will make a sorry attempt at some kind of ethnic food in order to appeal to voters that he definitely never cared about in the first place. Trump, on the other hand, will tweet “MCDONALD’S. VOTE!” and then UberEats a Big Mac to present as his meal — but not without a fly landing on it, probably. 

In the end, both of them will be bettered by it. This reality show may actually be good for Trump; if he won, that prize money could pay off his next 15 years of taxes!