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Sat Mar 16, 2013, 05:38 PM

Presidential debates embody a lot of what is wrong with modern politics.

Politicians get elected based partly on "are they a good actor", and partly on "can they produce good 90 second soundbites off the cuff". Actual evidence is specifically excluded.

A proper presidential debate would be a contest of ideas, not of speakers.

Lock them in a room together. No moderator, no audience, just cameras. Either no time-limit, or several hours. No questions, but possibly a broad subject area to focus on. And let them *debate*.

Give each of them a laptop, with internet access, and broadcast everything that comes up on each laptop screen, so that they can actually present studies, research etc to back up what they have to say, and if they don't know the answer to a question of fact they can look it up. Let them have advisors online helping them out if they want - the important thing is "are the ideas good", not where they come from.

Try and get everything except the ideas and the policies out of the way. The present set-up is the reverse - it's a test of showmanship, not of who is right.

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Reply Presidential debates embody a lot of what is wrong with modern politics. (Original post)
Donald Ian Rankin Mar 2013 OP
bhikkhu Mar 2013 #1
Peter cotton Mar 2013 #2
Donald Ian Rankin Mar 2013 #3
Peter cotton Mar 2013 #4
Donald Ian Rankin Mar 2013 #5

Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Original post)

Sat Mar 16, 2013, 06:02 PM

1. I think it goes back to Carter/Reagan at least

Carter knew the issues and the history inside and out, and he was a fountain of accurate information in those debates. Looking at the facts, he won hands-down.

But everyone remembers "there you go again", and that little chuckle and friendly shake of the head. Even though reagan was a serial liar, who didn't know or care what the facts were, people found him more likeable.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Original post)

Sat Mar 16, 2013, 06:09 PM

2. Anyone who thinks they need to watch the Presidential debates to decide who to vote for

 

is by defintion a low-information voter.

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Response to Peter cotton (Reply #2)

Sun Mar 17, 2013, 06:41 AM

3. Is it your view that low-information voters should be encouraged to stay that way?

If the purpose of presidential debates isn't to inform voters of things they didn't already know, what is it?

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #3)

Sun Mar 17, 2013, 06:49 AM

4. No, although I do encourage anyone who is willfully ignorant of the issues not to vote.

 

If the purpose of presidential debates isn't to inform voters of things they didn't already know, what is it?

To persuade voters who are easily swayed by sound bites and emotion rather than thoughtful arguments ans reason. This is a significant portion (majority?) of the electorate, after all.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #3)

Sun Mar 17, 2013, 11:16 AM

5. How well do you think people's knowledge of political issues correlates with their assessment

of that knowledge?

Do you think that "high information" and "low information" voters know who they are, and can reliably identify themselves? I don't, which is why I'm wary of agreeing with you.

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