I get why Lovely Warren, the Democratic candidate for Rochester mayor, wouldn’t want to debate her Green Party opponent, Alex White. Warren says that, instead, she intends to focus on door to door interactions with citizens — the kind of
grassroots campaigning that won her the Democratic endorsement.
Warren’s ground game has been so successful – earning her a primary victory over a heavily favored rival – it makes sense that she’d want to keep grinding her way to the November 5 goal line.
And by agreeing to debate, you’re essentially conferring status and credibility on your opponents — acknowledging them as equals. Third parties are still fighting for mainstream acceptance and it’s better, strategically, for Warren to keep White on the outer banks.
It reminds me of something I noticed in the last election cycle: candidates refusing to come in for endorsement interviews because they’d “chosen not to seek an endorsement.” (This doesn’t apply to Warren, who was generous with her time during the primary.)
That’s not the point.
The point i
s that people seeking public office have a responsibility to subject themselves to a thorough vetting by the public. And the media, in most cases, are acting as the public’s representatives. People can decide for themselves whether or not they agree with that particular outlet’s conclusions. Ideally, voters are consulting several sources and arriving at an individual, informed opinion.
Warren needs to put herself in a place where her ideas and plans are challenged. If they’re worthwhile, they’ll hold up.