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Thu Oct 1, 2020, 12:00 PM

The Debates Still Matter - The Atlantic

Looks like a decent article.

The Debates Still Matter
In a fractured media environment, itís rare when Americans of all persuasions are watching the same thing.

11:35 AM ET
Joshua Benton
Director of the Nieman Journalism Lab


5 replies, 623 views

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Arrow 5 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Debates Still Matter - The Atlantic (Original post)
BootinUp Oct 1 OP
beachbumbob Oct 1 #1
BootinUp Oct 2 #3
Earthshine2 Oct 2 #5
Drunken Irishman Oct 1 #2
BootinUp Oct 2 #4

Response to BootinUp (Original post)

Thu Oct 1, 2020, 12:26 PM

1. the first debate had a profound effect on america and the world, neither being positive

as an anecdotal note, a heavy trump supporter across from my brothers house in Kansas City in upscale neighborhood that was trump country in 2016 went out yesterday morning and took down all trump signs. My brother says in 2016, no hillary signs and now he can walk around and see 10 or 12 houses with Biden signs, including his own

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Response to beachbumbob (Reply #1)

Fri Oct 2, 2020, 12:38 AM

3. The timing cant be coincidence with your brothers neighbor.

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Response to beachbumbob (Reply #1)

Fri Oct 2, 2020, 06:55 AM

5. The debate, such as it was, was a net positive for us.

According to most, Biden won the debate largely due to Trump's barbaric behavior.

After watching the first 15 mins of the debate, a 70ish female friend of mine, who is a life-long republican, declared she would vote for Biden. Trump's behavior was grotesque to her.

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Response to BootinUp (Original post)

Thu Oct 1, 2020, 12:30 PM

2. Very good article. Debates absolutely matter.

I think people point to 2016 as proof they don't but people also forget that Trump was surging in the polls prior to the first debate. He was only two or so points behind Hillary the day of the debate and I remember thinking Trump was just a mediocre debate performance away from maybe winning things due to the momentum it felt like his campaign had. All he needed to do was look calm and somewhat reasonable and who knows?

Well he didn't. Hillary grew her lead in the polls and looked well on her way to winning until the dang Comey letter mucked it all up.

In 2012, it's hard to believe Obama was not hit hard for his lackluster debate performance. He was cruising to a relatively big reelection and it stalled that possibilities. The same thing happened in 2004 with Bush.

Obama was able to maintain enough support to win the EC convincingly but that election got way closer than it should have been due to his performance.

The thing is, I can't point to a debate that actually won the race for the candidate.

Hillary didn't win. Romney didn't win. Kerry didn't win. They all won, at least according to polls, the first debates convincingly. Obama didn't win in 2008 became of his decent debate performance against McCain. He was going to win no matter what. Same with Clinton in 1996 & 1992, Bush in 1988 and Reagan in 1984.

And I can only think of two debates that potentially cost a candidate the election: 2000 & 1976. Even then, it's not provable but with how narrow Gore lost, you could make the claim his sighing, and the media's focus on it, badly damaged him just enough to lose him that race. In 1976, when Ford, who had all the momentum in that race vs Carter, stated there was no Soviet dominance over Eastern Europe, the momentum crashed. Would that continued momentum prove enough to win that election? Eh. Maybe.

But debates certainly set the context for the final weeks of the campaign. Four years ago, it allowed Hillary some positive press after a couple months of the media attacking her health and emails. It obviously ended badly for her but still.

In 2012, the debate made the final weeks closer than they should have been, which put in jeopardy the Democrats expanding the senate and likely still cost them some close house races.

Tuesday being the cluster it was matters too. Biden looked solid. I think even his critics will say that the dementia line lost its luster after that debate.

Trump looked unhinged. It's now set the context that Trump is losing and there's just not a lot of time to get back into this, especially with more and more Americans voting by the day.

That's a message that helps Biden and casts doubt on Trump.

Had he actually showed up and looked semi-reasonable, though? The context is that maybe Trump has played his way back into this race.

But that obviously didn't happen.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Reply #2)

Fri Oct 2, 2020, 12:41 AM

4. For some reason I give Pres. Clinton's townhall debate

performance in 92 more credit. but hadn't thought about it in a long time.

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