Is there a fix to this problem?
Yes, but it will never be implemented.
Imagine you amble into the debate forum, see a debate that looks interesting, and vote on it.
Hold on there squid.
There is a clique of liberal members, some of them mods, who spring into action if the conditions are right.
If your vote goes against a clique member, your vote gets reported. A mod comes in and either reduces or removes your vote. If the mod cannot credibly change your vote enough to put the liberal debater in the lead, the mod himself (or another clique member) instantly votes, putting their friend back in the lead.
If you are a known conservative, your vote gets reported. A mod comes in and either reduces or removes your vote. If the mod cannot credibly change your vote enough to put the debater you did not vote for in the lead, the mod himself (or another clique member) instantly votes, putting their friend back in the lead.
How many times do you think this can happen before members know voting is a waste of time?
The same people wonder why so many members spend their time only in the forums.
Look at the leaderboard. Virtually all the mods have a 100% win ratios. The mods that don't are new and will be shooting up shortly. The rest of the top are clique members.
Now sort the board by number of votes with most votes on top. The first half of the first page is mods and clique members.
The debate forum has only a few people going around repeatedly voting for each other. Like a cabal.
The mods and the "elites" will never voluntarily let this system go. Mike has shown he isn't interested in board operations. So, short another cataclysmic change, the debate board will remain the same.
Ways to mitigate the problem:
If you are a conservative:
Do not debate or vote against clique members. Unless you just enjoy losing.
Do not vote or debate against touchstone liberal positions. Unless you enjoy wasting your time.
Debate only members who have given no indication whatsoever their religious or political leanings. Noobs are best.
Debate only topics that are impossible to classify as liberal or conservative. Like, "Are Babies Cute?"
If you are liberal:
Go wild. As long as you do not debate a clique member, you're going to win.
Find conservatives or theists and challenge them on the most absurd liberal talking points, like, "Can Babies Be Aborted 50 Years After Birth?" Have no fear, you'll win.
Go to a few debates by clique members and vote for them, and they will return the favor to you. Do that often enough and they might invite you into their clique, then watch your elo rise!
This isn't a solution but its the next best thing. Happy debating!