Most of the time the candidates are smothering us in platitudes and glittering generalities rather than real substantive facts and analysis. The rest of the time they are pandering to the prejudices of voting blocks they are trying to capture. They are a beauty contest, where the winner is going to be determined by appearances and mannerisms - or who is having a bad day.
For the media they are an opportunity to have 50 million listeners and make a bundle from advertising. The moderators generally may try once or twice to ask a halfway probing question, but even when they do the candidate talks around difficult issues and then the moderator moves on.
Presidential debates focus our attention on superficial aspects of the campaign. If you aspire to more serious policy understanding, I suggest you don't pollute your mind with the debates. If enough folks boycott perhaps we will get a format that is meaningful.