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Presidential Debates: The Challenge of Creating an Informed Electorate / Edition 1
     

Presidential Debates: The Challenge of Creating an Informed Electorate / Edition 1

by Kathleen H. Jamieson
 

ISBN-10: 019506660X

ISBN-13: 9780195066609

Pub. Date: 08/28/1990

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

Presidential debates have had mixed reviews. Advocates praise debates as a way of making issues more central to the campaign. Others criticize them as little more than joint press conferences. How important are these debates? Do they really test knowledge and vision? Do they sort good ideas from bad, or reveal important character traits and habits of mind? In

Overview

Presidential debates have had mixed reviews. Advocates praise debates as a way of making issues more central to the campaign. Others criticize them as little more than joint press conferences. How important are these debates? Do they really test knowledge and vision? Do they sort good ideas from bad, or reveal important character traits and habits of mind? In short, do they provide voters with what they need to know to choose a president?
To address these questions, the authors place contemporary debates in their cultural and historical context, tracing their origins and development in the American political tradition, from the eighteenth century to the present. Although the Kennedy-Nixon TV confrontations were an historical first, debate was an element of American electoral politics by 1788 and a staple of policy deliberation throughout the colonial period. Indeed, much of the confusion over the value of debates stems in part from the long tradition of political debating in America. Thus, to make the most productive use of debate in modern presidential politics, the authors argue, we must respond to the history of this tradition.
The book concludes with recommendations to preserve the best elements of traditional debate while adapting to the requirements of the broadcast age. The reforms they advocate include: substantive debates between major party representatives between elections; alternative formats; use of visual aids in debates; follow-up press conferences; a focus on fewer issues and increased experimentation in the primaries.
Presidential debates provide voters with a rare opportunity to evaluate political reasoning on complex issues. In suggestingways to make presidential debates even more effective, this thought-provoking volume makes an important contribution to America's political future.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195066609
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
08/28/1990
Edition description:
REPRINT
Pages:
276
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction3
1Characteristics of Prebroadcast Debates in America17
2The Contributions of American Debate, 1770-192039
3The Limitations of American Debate, 1770-192064
4The Impact of Broadcasting on Debates84
5The Power of Broadcast Debates120
6The Problems of Broadcast Debates162
7The Promise of Debates194
Appendix 1Presidential Debates, 1948-1984223
Appendix 2The Law and Presidential Debates229
Notes231
References241
Index259

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