As the presidential primary campaign heads into the backstretch, the debate format appears to be giving way to "town halls." That is, face-to-face candidate confrontations are largely being replaced with single candidates undergoing voter and moderator interrogations in various states.
In the early stage of the 2016 Republican nomination cycle, televised debates on network and cable carriers dominated, with 17 competitors involved -- so many, in fact, that the field had to be split into a main event and an "undercard."
Many of the debaters shunted to the latter complained of receiving second-class treatment, and others lamented that even in a two-hour marathon, insufficient time was allocated to them. As the field was winnowed down, the complaints lessened.
Still, with debates so frequent and bunched up, they began to sound repetitive, both in questions posed and answers given. They often descended into noisy personal name-calling and he-said, she-said nitpicking, as the combatants struggled for an advantage.