Too often, we see in our democracy that genuine debate has been replaced by pre-arranged talking points aimed at political profiling instead of problem-solving.
In the best American tradition of open inquiry, spirited discussion and practical action, The McCain Institute has re-introduced the practice of structured, reasoned debate.
The debates include seasoned experts and practitioners of varying affiliations and points of view. They are distinctly non-partisan, aiming to look forward at future policy choices, not to look backward to criticize.
These discussions are public events, made available for television broadcast in order to reach the widest audience possible. The debates are followed by a private, non-attribution discussion solely among the debaters and the senior policymakers present. In this manner, we hope to create a “safe environment” for political leaders to discuss issues honestly and without fear of political vulnerability or backlash. Senior current and former policymakers form part of the audience and have the opportunity to submit questions or offer brief reactions. The debates aim to build deeper understanding, mutual respect, political civility, and decisive action, while recognizing that in a competitive political system we will never reach a full consensus.
With a genuine dialog among decisionmakers and experts from different political stances, we hope to bridge the ideas and theories with policy outcomes that resolve the big questions of the day that are stuck in a status quo.
Understanding that the differences of opinions cannot be ended, we praise them as a form of diversity and hope to create a place for the exchange of ideas and the creation of bipartisan groundwork for policies that will be of benefit to the United States.