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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
  • 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)

Next Story

International Conference On Border Security By U.S. State Department Cancelled Due To Shutdown

Trump is demanding $5.7 billion to build a wall along part of the U.S.-Mexico border that he says is crucial for U.S. national security.

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People enter the State Department building in Washington, Jan. 26, 2017. VOA

An international conference on border security that was to be hosted by the State Department has been canceled, due to the partial shutdown of the U.S. government over border security.

 

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A U.S. Border Patrol agent looks at one of border wall prototypes in San Diego, June 28, 2018. VOA

 

The State Department said 250 experts on export control and border security from 85 countries were expected to participate in the conference scheduled for mid-February in Edinburgh, Scotland.

CNN was the first to report that the director of the State Department’s Office of Export Control Cooperation, Kathryn Insley, sent a letter Jan. 16 to at least 55 U.S. embassies and missions worldwide, asking them to let officials in their countries know the conference has been called off.

The letter said the decision was made because of the “uncertainty associated with the continuing partial U.S. federal government shutdown.” Insley’s letter stated officials “are working to identify alternative dates” and would be in contact with participants “as soon as we are operational again.”

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President Donald Trump reviews border wall prototypes in San Diego, March 13, 2018. VOA

“In light of the very limited funding available during the lapse in appropriations, the Department will exercise judicious use of limited, remaining resources,” a State Department spokesperson told The Hill newspaper. “Travel, hiring, contracting, public affairs, and other activities will continue to operate in a constrained manner.”

Also Read: The Great U.S. Government Shutdown

The partial government shutdown has extended into its 32nd day, affecting more than 800,000 federal workers across the country.

Border security is at the center of the fight between U.S. President Donald Trump and the Democrats that has paralyzed a quarter of the federal government.

Trump is demanding $5.7 billion to build a wall along part of the U.S.-Mexico border that he says is crucial for U.S. national security. The Democrats have refused his demand, creating a stalemate. (VOA)