Although the Kamala Harris-Mike Pence vice presidential debate wasn’t nearly the debacle the Joe Biden-President Donald Trump presidential debate was, was it truly as informative as we would like?

We should try a very different format updated from that used in the most famous debates in American history. In 1858, in a race for U.S. Senate, Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas used a format where one spoke for an hour, the other for an hour and a half, then a half-hour rebuttal. We could modify this format for today’s debates by using 18-minute sessions: a six-minute opening, a nine-minute response and a three-minute rebuttal. After three sessions, there would be a brief break, followed by two more sessions. The moderator would open each session with a general open-ended question. The parties would alternate who gives the opening six-minute answer.

Mic controls would prevent interruption, and warning lights (supplemented with mic controls) would enforce time limits. The format would easily lend itself to isolating participants in separate COVID-19 secure rooms.

Wouldn’t it be nice to see our future president speak coherently and in depth for nine straight minutes?

Shea Wilson, Seattle