- Getty Images
Everyone has the chance to submit and vote on questions that could be used in Sunday night’s presidential debate.
And the top of the leaderboard has some fairly intriguing suggestions for ABC’s Martha Raddatz and CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
The Open Debate Coalition has a website set up where people can create an account and begin submitting questions or upvoting ones already posted to the site.
As of Wednesday afternoon, nearly 1.8 million votes were cast. In a conference call late last week, those involved with the submission said ABC and CNN agreed to consider the 30 questions with the most votes.
Sunday night’s debate, the second between Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, in St. Louis will be conducted in a town-hall format in which audience members will ask half the questions. The other half will be posed by the two moderators, Raddatz and Cooper. Candidates will have two minutes to respond to the questions, and the moderators will have an additional minute to push the discussion further.
“We are confident that after millions of votes are cast, ABC and CNN will see fit to ask questions from PresidentialOpenQuestions.com because these are the types of questions voters want answered,” said Lilia Tamm Dixon, the Open Debate Coalition director.
The site, she said, got an influx of traffic after being linked to by the popular conservative news aggregator The Drudge Report, in addition to attention received after articles written in The Atlantic and other publications.
Grover Norquist, the founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform, added that the format attracts “real questions from real people.”
“We don’t tend to get gotcha questions, we don’t tend to get questions that are the obvious obsession of a particular interviewer,” he said. “But the ones that get not only written down but get votes from other people – you see which ones have broad support and which ones don’t.”
But even should more trolling-type questions finish among the top 30, the organization will not be removing them in favor of questions that finished just outside the top 30.
The organizers said CNN and ABC did not give any guidelines for any questions they would not take.
Tamm Dixon said the group for the most part wasn’t “getting a lot of” those types of questions.
“Some may be more directed to one candidate than the other, but that’s really up to the moderator as to whether they want to elect one of the questions or not,” she said.
The five questions with the most votes on the site at the time of writing are as follows:
- Would you support requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales? Do you support expanding, and not cutting, Social Security’s modest benefits? How will you ensure the 2nd amendment is protected? Would you support term limits for members of Congress and the Supreme Court? Would you act to repeal Citizens United?
Among the top 30, there are also questions asking what both Trump and Clinton “propose to do to those in government that are above the law” and “Why are government officials who fail to protect classified info not prosecuted?” Another of the most upvoted questions is asking whether both Trump and Clinton would support Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson participating in the third and final debate.