Prof. Mitchell S. McKinney says the more debates organsied for U.S. presidential candidates, the more opportunities the electorate get to make informed decisions at the polls.
McKinney, a Professor of Communications at the University of Missouri, said this while briefing some newsmen from across the globe selected by the U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Global Public Affairs, to cover the 2020 U.S. election.
Speaking at a webinar, the professor said that although at the third debate the candidates tend to be repeating points already made and getting more aggressive, the electorate had the chance to listen to them speak on their plans for the country.
“I think that the question has been asked in terms of, do we need three? Is that too much? What we know from our research is that yes, by the time we get to the third debate, we are hearing a great deal of the same information.
“Now, does that mean that, well, we should only have two? Some of this is driven by this inclusion of different debate formats.
“For example, the town hall debate; the town hall debate features a different dynamic of showing the candidate’s ability to connect with voters, that ability to understand the concerns of the undecided average voter, if you will; that is a different format.
“The first and third presidential debates are similar in terms of their structure, their style.
“So, we do know over the course of three debates that we start to hear repeating information from the candidates.
“We also know that as the debate series goes on, typically, and this happened in 2016 a great deal, the more conflictual the debates become, the more attack-oriented as these candidates take the stage for the third time.
“So, I’m not sure that we could say, `well we only need one podium and one town hall and that’s enough;` I think we learn a great deal from the candidates as the debate series goes on,’’ he said. (NAN)