Why is it that political candidates for national office are all so breathless in their attempts to impress the national media pundits?

Consider the Democrat debates. It just seems like every candidate is trying to outshine the next and to score points with their teacher. No one seems interested in being the teacher, being the person who brings ideas and alternatives to the table. It is as if all the right answers are already in the back of the book and each candidate is trying to score 100% by proving they have memorized the only acceptable lines. Some even recite them in Spanish. Does that get them extra credit?

And for the record, Republicans are seldom, if ever, any better. No wonder people would rather watch anything instead of politicians trying to please TV news personalities serving as moderators (none of whom have ever held public office themselves).