Fight the conventional wisdom

While we're waiting for the results, I'm going to join Ross in defending the debate. Not because I think that the questions were useful; I think they were vacuous nonsense. But I really wonder if any of it matters.

You can't judge a candidate on their policy platform; half of it is shameless pandering with fictional numbers, and the rest of it won't pass Congress.

No matter what you think the most important issue is now, the odds are extremely good that the candidate's most important task will be dealing with something that neither you nor (s)he foresaw.

Trying to judge candidates on their "character" seems equally foolish. Candidates are essentially on an eighteen month first date. Their task is to seem unrealistically compelling until it's too late for anyone to do anything about it.

There's a rich body of literature suggesting that job interviews are actually counterproductive. You are much better off hiring people (or not) based on their resume and/or body of work. Interviewing actually reduces your chances of hiring a satisfactory candidate.

I'm beginning to think that the same is true of election campaigns. They're just saying whatever they think will make us like them, so why bother with it? Look at their voting record and call it a day.

No one will take this advice, since even the decision scientists who issue it conduct job interviews. But it sure would make this whole thing a lot less tedious.