Thu. Jul 25th, 2024

Imagine a US presidential election without a debate.

By triji Apr 15, 2024

For weeks, the campaign for the presidency of the United States of America in 2024 has been promising to be unusual.

This is not only due to the fact that a former president, who was removed from office in 2020 after serving only one term and has been harassed by the courts ever since for having attempted, among other things, to reverse the results of the vote that was in his favor, will lead the campaign.

In addition, this contest for the White House has the potential to make history by becoming the first election since 1976 that does not provide voters with the opportunity to watch televised debates between the two leading candidates, Donald Trump, who represents the Republican camp, and Joe Biden, who represents the Democratic party. A situation which illustrates both the deleterious climate in which American politics has been immersed for several decades and the consequences of the divide and uninhibited political violence on the health of the country’s democratic institutions that the Republican populist encourages in the public space.

Gibbs Knotts, the dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the College of Charleston, was approached by Le Devoir on Wednesday in South Carolina. He stated that it would be a negative sign for the democratic process in the United States if there was no televised debate held this year. These discussions have been going on for a very long time in the United States. They are a means by which presidential candidates can initiate a civilized conversation and assist voters in making a decision about voting that is more informed from the information they have. I have high hopes that the absence of a debate between Biden and Trump in 2024 will not have the effect of putting a stop to this significant democratic practice, and that those who after them will work to bring it back.

This week, the five major American television networks — ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, and Fox News — collaborated to write a letter in which they urge Joe Biden and Donald Trump to take part in the televised debates that are currently scheduled for the election campaign schedule in the United States. This is a rather unusual move on the part of the television networks. All of these in-person gatherings are slated to take place on September 16th, as well as October 1st and 9th. An additional one of them might be set aside for candidates running for vice president. Tuesday was the day when the New York Times finally disclosed the existence of this letter, which was in draft form.

“General election debates are a rich tradition in our American democracy, and they have played a vital role in every presidential cycle over the past fifty years,” concludes the consortium, which, according to the daily, intends to recruit other media and press groups. “General election debates have played a vital role in every presidential cycle over the past fifty years.” In each of these elections, tens of millions of people watched the candidates compete against one another in a collision of ideas in an effort to earn the votes of the people of the United States.

In addition, he stated, “If there is one thing that Americans can agree on in this time of great division, it is that the stakes in this election are exceptionally high.” It is impossible to find a substitute for candidates arguing their vision for the future of the nation both among themselves and in front of the American people.

Uniformity among Republicans
Donald Trump issued a challenge to Joe Biden to debate with him “anytime, anytime, and anywhere,” which he wrote in capital letters on his social network at the beginning of March. This was despite the fact that two years prior, the Republican National Committee had decided to withdraw from the events that were being orchestrated by the Commission on the Presidential Debates due to the influence of the populist and his numerous complaints. After that, the former president criticized the choices of moderators, the format of the debates, the date of the debates, and the fact that there was a bias toward the Democrats.

Despite the fact that he believed, even before the first voters had decided on this campaign in January of last year, that he was the unquestioned holder of the Republican candidacy for 2024, Donald Trump did not take part in any of the debates hosted by the candidates for the Republican nomination.

Joe Biden, for his part, has not fully dismissed the concept of a debate; however, he does attach one condition to the idea: “It will depend on the behavior [of Donald Trump],” he stated a few weeks ago. Once he arrives on the scene, his campaign staff is indeed concerned about the Commission’s capacity to convince the former reality TV star and politician with authoritarian inclinations to obey the rules of debate that have been established by the two parties.

During the campaign for the 2020 election, the two candidates engaged in two debates that were scheduled to take place. However, a third debate was canceled when Donald Trump became infected with COVID-19. The initial face-to-face meeting took place in an environment that was both hectic and tense. Donald Trump made advantage of his platform to undermine the legitimacy of the electoral system in the United States. Among other things, he urged his supporters to keep a close eye on the voting stations during the election. He would later claim that the election was fraudulent, although he never provided any evidence to support his claim. Also, he made a live invitation to the supremacist group known as the Proud Boys, telling them to “be ready.” A few months later, populist sympathizers started an uprising against the state capital and democratic institutions in the United States. This group played a significant role in the uprising.

According to John W. Kitch, a political scientist at Texas State University who specializes in democratic institutions, “in the current state of the American political climate, voters are unlikely to gain much useful information from a debate.” Kitch made this statement in an interview. For a long time, these debates have been more about style than substance, and if candidates choose not to participate, it should be interpreted more as an indication that we are living in an age of fierce partisanship than as a warning that we are living in a democracy that is in danger.

The structure of these face-to-face discussions has not changed significantly since the first televised debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960, which demonstrated the significance of pictures in the realm of political communication. Despite this, they continue to be events that are attended by a large number of viewers. An audience of 68 million people, on average, watched the debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump in the year 2020. This number is far more than the crowd that attends a State of the Union address.

“These debates do not have a major impact on the outcome of the November vote as they did in the past,” said Gibbs Knotts. “This is significantly different from the situation in the past.” Nevertheless, they play a significant part in assisting voters in gaining a deeper understanding of political issues. It has even been demonstrated through research that these debates not only improve the likelihood that people would cast their ballots, but also increase their faith in political institutions and political processes.


By triji

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