The final presidential debate of 2020 got passing marks because the candidates managed to take turns. But rarely did they roll out the kind of action plans the moderator was looking for. She kept asking: If elected, what will you do about this big problem we are facing? Still, candidates did not venture into specifics. We think that was by design. The strategy was, make debate No. 1 so bad that by the time debate No. 2 comes around, expectations are so low, everyone will just be grateful it’s not incoherent shouting and call it good.

But in a time with multiple crises pressing down on us, specific plans can pull people together, provide direction and alleviate anxiety. So that’s what this episode is all about. What do you want to hear candidates talking about? What kinds of plans and policies do you wish they were outlining before the public?

In episode 15, we hear from an array of people about the specifics they want to hear discussed by people seeking political power in this tumultuous time.

THE REAL DEBATE 2020

Executive Producer Marisa Demarco used to play a game with her stepchild when they were little. It was a presidential debate with the kiddo as a candidate and questions posed about real things happening in the world. Demarco would ask: “When you are president, how will you address this issue?” They would play for hours, until any of the adults around couldn’t take it anymore. She wanted to pass along an interest and investment in the news, in the world. This week we invited two 10-year-olds to be presidential candidates, and we posed similar questions to what was asked in the second debate of 2020.

The Candidates are:

  • Khazi Sinandile: age 9
  • Wayah Rukavina: age 10

COVID 19 / PUBLIC HEALTH / HEALTH CARE ACCESS

Barbara Webber – Executive Director, Health Action New Mexico

Shelley Mann-Lev – Co-President, New Mexico Public Health Association

Dr. Anthony Fleg – University Of New Mexico School of Medicine, Native Health Initiative

Hunter Marshall – Frontline nurse and medical student

CLIMATE CHANGE / ENERGY

Laura Paskus – Environmental Journalist

John Ammondson – Advocate, Environment New Mexico

Mariel Nanasi – Executive Director, New Energy Economy

IMMIGRATION

Allegra Love – Director, Santa Fe Dreamers Project

Rebecca Kitson – Immigration Attorney

Jacqueline Stevens – Professor at Northwestern and Founding Director of the Deportation Research Clinic

RACIST POLICING / CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

Arthur Bell – Organizer, Black New Mexico Movement

Barbara Jordan – Organizer, Black New Mexico Movement Rio Rancho

Barron Jones – Attorney, ACLU New Mexico

Keegan Kloer – The Red Nation

Darryl DeLoach – Crisis Intervention Role-Player

ECONOMY / SMALL BUSINESS

Ken Carson – Business Owner, Nexus Brewery

Lauren Green – Business Owner, The Grove Café

Jesus Zamora – Business Owner, Sister Bar

Fred Nathan – Founder and Executive Director, Think New Mexico

PROTECTING THE VOTE AND DEMOCRACY

Maria Barsallo Lynch – Executive Director, Defending Digital Democracy Project at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Heather Ferguson – Executive Director, Common Cause New Mexico

Ahtza Dawn Chavez – Executive Director, NAVA Education Project

EDUCATION

Trisha Moquino - Founder of Keres Immersion School in Cochiti Pueblo

Particia Jimenez-Latham - Project Manager, Transform Education NM

Emily Castillo – Families United for Education

Adrian Sandoval – Director, Center for the Education of Diverse Populations

Next week: We talk about the election. What else did you think we were going to talk about?

Special thanks to:

Hannah Colton, Taylor Velazquez, Kaveh Mowahed and Nash Jones for the editing help

Our future presidential candidates Khazi Sinandele and Wayah Rukavina. (After the debate, they asked: How will people vote for us? How will we know who won? Look for No More Normal on Facebook. We’ll poll you there.)

Artist Eric J. Garcia of El Machete Illustrated provided the artwork for the online version of this week’s episode

Jazztone the Producer, Cheo, Dahm Life, and Oh Lawd Records for providing music for the show. Khaki, Pope Yesyesyall, and Biggawat produced some of the show’s themes.