Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Political Party Debates

The television news networks, and the political parties, seem very enamored of having television debates as part of the process in selecting Presidential candidates. And, once the Vice-Presidential candidates are selected by the two major nominees, having at least one of those as well.

The recent Republican candidate debate was really a reductio ad culos.  To begin with, it was lengthy; especially if you include the preliminary one for those not eligible for the main debate. Second, it had too many participants, which made it hard to distinguish among several. Finally, each participant had less than 20 minutes air time; some as little as 10 minutes.

But there are other problems as well. The brief exposure time sets a premium on dropping zingers and cheap sound bites. They have little time to expound on their ideas, making possible complex reasoning seem so simplified!

The also-ran debate seemed extremely poorly conceived: in effect, the audience was primed before by their separation from the others into writing them off as losers or also-rans. In effect, they were relegated to the kids' table in the political feast.

So, in general, it was probably premature to have a debate with so many participants. But Fox and CNN both liked to generate some news lest there is not enough to go around.


  1. You're right. It was much too early for debates.

  2. zingers and sound-bites - that about sums it up.