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Will Presidential debates influence impressionable Voters ? In ‘Volatile’ US Presidential Race, Candidates’ Debate Skills could be Key

The presidential debates are likely to impact judgements and skew the votes. Read to know more about the soon to be held smackdown

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Donald Trump and Hillary clinton. Image source: VOA
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  • The first of three presidential debates will be held September 26 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York
  • Trump has agreed to participate but says he wants to negotiate the debate conditions
  • With a smackdown, likely mass audiences are going to be tuning in to watch the debate

September 3, 2016: Debates are always a big part of any U.S. presidential campaign, but with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both having unusually low favorability ratings, this year’s debates could be more influential than usual.

“Because the electorate is so volatile this year, it doesn’t take nearly as much to get a loosely aligned voter to switch his allegiance,” Dan Schnur, director of the University of Southern California’s political institute, told The Associated Press.

In a Washington Post-ABC News poll released this week, 41 percent of Americans have a favorable impression of Clinton, while 56 percent have an unfavorable one.

It is the lowest rating Clinton has had in her quarter-century in national public life, the Post reported.

Trump fares worse in the new poll. Thirty-five percent of Americans have a favorable impression of him, compared with 63 percent unfavorable, the Postreported.

4 debates before November vote

The first of three presidential debates will be held September 26 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. NBC News anchor Lester Holt will moderate the event.

FILE - Republican U.S. presidential candidates Marco Rubio (L) and Donald Trump speak simultaneously at the debate sponsored by CNN for the 2016 Republican U.S. presidential candidates in Houston, Texas, Feb. 25, 2016.
FILE – Republican U.S. presidential candidates Marco Rubio (L) and Donald Trump speak simultaneously at the debate sponsored by CNN for the 2016 Republican U.S. presidential candidates in Houston, Texas, Feb. 25, 2016. Image Source: VOA

The second debate will be held October 9 at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. The event — to be co-moderated by CNN anchor Anderson Cooper and ABC global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz — will be a town hall-style meeting, with questions coming from audience members and from people following the debate via social media.

The third debate, with Fox News anchor Chris Wallace as moderator, will be held October 19 at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.

CBS journalist Elaine Quijano will moderate the lone vice presidential debate between Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Mike Pence. It will be held October 4 at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia.

Trump wants to ‘negotiate’

Steve Scully of the cable news network C-SPAN will be a backup moderator for all four debates, according to the Commission on Presidential Debates, a nonpartisan group that organizes the events.

Clinton has said she will take part in all three debates.

Trump also has agreed to participate, but says he wants to negotiate the debate conditions. His campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

With Trump in the mix, there’s also plenty of potential for shock value.

Maybe a smackdown?

“Mass audiences are going to be tuning in to look for a smackdown,” Eric Dezenhall, a Washington crisis management consultant, told the AP.

FILE - Democratic presidential candidates, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, left, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. talk over each other during the Democratic presidential primary debate in Charleston, South Carolina, Jan. 17, 2016.
FILE – Democratic presidential candidates, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, left, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. talk over each other during the Democratic presidential primary debate in Charleston, South Carolina, Jan. 17, 2016. Image source: VOA

In the primaries, Trump grabbed the spotlight in the opening minutes of the first of a dozen GOP debates, when he was the only candidate to refuse to rule out a third-party run for president. The Republican primary debates were often raucous affairs, with name-calling and candidates talking over each other. Moderators often had trouble keeping the debate on track.

The nine Democratic debates showcased Clinton as an experienced debater, although the highlight may have been Bernie Sanders’ curt dismissal of all the attention being paid to Clinton’s “damn emails.”

Knockout unlikely

Over the past half-century, general election debates have offered plenty of moments of televised high drama, but knockouts are rare.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan shone in his debate against then-President Jimmy Carter, scolding him with a gentle “there you go again,” and posing a pointed closing question: “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” Pollsters reported a resulting sharp shift in public opinion, said Alan Schroeder, author ofPresidential Debates: Forty Years of High-Risk TV.

Two decades earlier, in the first televised debates, Richard Nixon, appearing sickly and unprepared, never recovered from his disastrous performance in the first of three 1960 debates with then-Senator John F. Kennedy, who would win the presidency.

This year, given Trump’s unpredictability, “You’ve got a recipe for a highly combustible situation,” Schroeder said of the debates. “For viewers, it creates a scenario that virtually compels them to watch.

“Anything that happens on that stage will therefore be magnified exponentially,” he added. (VOA)

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Will sexual misconduct scandals make Men more cautious towards Women?

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Sexual scandals may wary men's behavioral instincts
FILE - In a Feb. 3, 2015, file photo, Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg is photographed at the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. Some women, and men, worry that the same climate that’s emboldening women to speak up about harassment could backfire by making some men wary of female colleagues. Sandberg recently wrote that she hoped the outcry over harassment doesn’t “have the unintended consequence of holding women back.” (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)
  • Sexual Scandals are the new low in business industry
  • Americans were already edgy about male-female encounters at work
  • Gender comes as a barrier in interaction

Some women, and men, worry the same climate that’s emboldening women to speak up about sexual misconduct could backfire by making some men wary of female colleagues.

Forget private meetings and get-to-know-you dinners. Beware of banter. Think twice before a high-ranking man mentors a young female staffer.

“I have already heard the rumblings of a backlash: ‘This is why you shouldn’t hire women,’” Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg wrote in a recent post .

“So much good is happening to fix workplaces right now. Let’s make sure it does not have the unintended consequence of holding women back,” said Sandberg, author of the working women’s manifesto “Lean In.”

Sexual Scandals
From left, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., accompanied by Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Illinois., and former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson, speaks at a news conference where she and other members of congress introduce legislation to curb sexual harassment in the workplace, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, in Washington. Gillibrand and fellow female Democratic senators have united in calling for Sen. Al Franken to resign amid sexual misconduct allegations. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Ana Quincoces, a Miami-based attorney and entrepreneur who owns her own food line, says her business and its success involves working mostly with men, and sales and other activities are often concluded over lunch or drinks. Those opportunities, she says, are dwindling, because many of the men she knows through her business “are terrified.”

“There’s a feeling of this wall that wasn’t there that is suddenly up because they don’t know what’s appropriate anymore — it’s disconcerting,” Quincoces said. “I feel that they’re more careful, more formal in their relationships with co-workers. And I can’t say I blame them, because what’s happened is pervasive. Every day there’s a new accusation.”

She said many of the men she knows are now avoiding one-on-one social occasions that were normal in the past.

“This is going to trickle down into all industries. … It’s going to become the new normal,” Quincoces said. “It’s a good thing because women are not afraid anymore, but on the other side, it’s a slippery slope.”

Americans were already edgy about male-female encounters at work: A New York Times/Morning Consult poll of 5,300 men and women last spring found almost two-thirds thought workers should be extra careful around opposite-sex colleagues, and around a quarter thought private work meetings between men and women were inappropriate.

But in a season of outcry over sexual misconduct, some men are suddenly wondering whether they can compliment a female colleague or ask about her weekend. Even a now-former female adviser to the head of Pennsylvania’s Democratic Party suggested on Facebook that men would stop talking to women altogether because of what she portrayed as overblown sexual misconduct claims.

Certain managers are considering whether to make sure they’re never alone with a staffer, despite the complications of adding a third person in situations like performance reviews, says Philippe Weiss, who runs the Chicago-based consultancy Seyfarth Shaw at Work.

Philadelphia employment lawyer Jonathan Segal says some men are declaring they’ll just shut people out of their offices, rather than risk exchanges that could be misconstrued.

“The avoidance issue is my biggest concern, because the marginalization of women in the business world is at least as big a problem as harassment,” Segal says. A recent report involving 222 North American companies found the percentage of women drops from 47 percent at the entry level to 20 percent in the C suite.

Vice President Mike Pence has long said he doesn’t have one-on-one meals with any woman except his wife and wants her by his side anywhere alcohol is served, as part of the couple’s commitment to prioritizing their marriage. The guidelines have “been a blessing to us,” the Republican told Christian Broadcasting Network News in an interview this month.

Employment attorneys caution that it can be problematic to curb interactions with workers because of their gender, if the practice curtails their professional opportunities. W. Brad Johnson, a co-author of a book encouraging male mentors for women, says limiting contact sends a troubling message.

“If I were unwilling to have an individual conversation with you because of your gender, I’m communicating ‘you’re unreliable; you’re a risk,’” says Johnson, a U.S. Naval Academy psychology professor.

Jessica Proud, a communications professional and Republican political consultant in New York City, said it would be wrong if this national “day of reckoning” over sexual misconduct resulted in some men deciding not to hire, mentor or work with women. She recalled a campaign she worked on where she was told she couldn’t travel with the candidate because of how it might look.

“I’m a professional, he’s a professional. Why should my career experience be limited?” she said. “That’s just as insulting in a lot of ways.” VOA