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Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews - TIME.com

The first televised debate

The first televised debate

The first televised debate from 1960 between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon helped Kennedy become more popular, only because of his good looks, while Nixon, just recovered from a recent hospitalization, lost points. 

The impact of the television could be easily seen then, as the people who listened to the debate on the radio thought Nixon had won, while the ones watching TV thought Kennedy had.

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Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews - TIME.com

Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews - TIME.com

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Key Ideas

The first televised debate

The first televised debate from 1960 between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon helped Kennedy become more popular, only because of his good looks, while Nixon, just recovered from a recent hospitalization, lost points. 

The impact of the television could be easily seen then, as the people who listened to the debate on the radio thought Nixon had won, while the ones watching TV thought Kennedy had.

The influence of TV on politics

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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There’s a reason why we place such importance on debates: They show us things about candidates that other venues do not, but they may also overwhelm everything else we know about the candidate.

1960 — Kennedy v. Nixon

The first televised presidential debate in U.S. history may be the most consequential.

Political mythology holds that Americans who listened to the debate on the radio thought Nixon was better, while those who watched it on television thought Kennedy was better.

1976 — Carter v. Ford

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The outcome was so bizarre, the United States had to amend the Constitution.

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1824: 'Corrupt bargain'
  • Andrew Jackson won the popular vote by less than 39,000 ballots and took 99 Electoral College votes. John Quincy Adams secured 84, William Crawford won 41, and Henry Clay had 37.
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After his inauguration, Adams selected Clay as his secretary of state. Jackson accused Adams and Clay of a "corrupt bargain."

1860: Nation divided

The 1860 election was notable because it ripped the long-dominant Party (and nation) in half.

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  • Breckenridge took most of the South.
  • Bell's middle of the road policies earned him the middle of the road.

In 1861, delegates from South Carolina, and six of the Southern states formed the Confederate States of America and selected Jefferson Davis as their president.

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You don't want to give the impression that you're acting. 

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