But there is a practical policy concern as well, notes Tsemberis. “A female moderator would be able to add a new perspective to the debates and touch on topics that are salient for women in this country, like reproductive rights, inequality in the workplace, and how the economy impacts women and their families.”
Of course, this is precisely why having a woman in the moderator’s chair unnerves the campaigns, says debate expert Allan Louden, chair of the communications department at Wake Forest University.
Campaigns don’t want a new perspective, says Louden. What campaigns want is a moderator who is boring, predictable, and safe. That means sticking with what has become the norm: “a neutral old white guy.”