The presidential debates

Presidential debates in USA, and not only, are a really big deal. During these, candidates have not only the possibility to show to the entire country what they are capable of, but this is also their chance to win over the adversary. However, when not used properly, debates can also turn into candidates' biggest nightmare, as they can be used as later evidence for what was inappropriately said.

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Having been the first nationally televised presidential debate in history, this event is still seen as a memory worth remembering. Furthermore, what made it even more extraordinary was the fact that both political figures who participated in the debate would later become Presidents. An important take-away refers to the fact that, especially during a public event, one should take care of how she or he looks like.

The most important lesson that one can learn from this debate refers to the fact that you should pay extra attention when making statements during a public debate. The consequences can be quite disturbing, even after some good years.

If during the debate with Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter proved to be more well-informed, the things did not go so well for him during the debate with Ronald Reagan. Reagan taught everybody a great lesson by means of how he talked and behaved throughout the debate: in order to win the elections, you should first make sure to win the public over. And using your charm will surely do the job.

Throughout a political debate, it is equally important to use your charm as it is to present trustworthy information, in order to win the public over. Moreover, if there are three candidates instead of two, this will most probably lead to a more challenging discussion and, therefore, more interesting results.

Debates are sometimes won over by those who know how to get close to the public, rather than those who know everything. Therefore, even if Al Gore was a highly intellectual, he did lose the elections, as people had grown tired of his lecturers.

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1976 — Carter v. Ford

A moment that may have impacted the final result was when Ford stumbled over a question during their second debate regarding Poland, which he insisted was not under "Soviet domination." It was, and Ford had to retract his statement, contributing to the view that he was in over his head.

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This election was not about whether Republican Barry Goldwater or President Lyndon Johnson was a more capable commander in chief. Race shaped the 1964's ballot and would affect elections for decades to come.

  • Goldwater, who had cast his vote against the Civil Rights Act, was painted as a racist. Johnson tried to please everyone.
  • Johnson won one of the most lopsided elections ever. Goldwater won only his home state of Arizona and Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina.

Ever since the first televised debate between Kennedy and Nixon, back in 1960, television has been playing an essential role in influencing people's political choices. After sixteen years of break, starting with 1976, televised debates have become standard practice in politics. 

What is maybe the most interesting about how television influenced politics is the fact that individuals, as well as parties, are now taking into account additional factors when judging the candidates, such as looks and the ability to debate.

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