The American Presidential Debate
During presidential elections in America, it is customary for the primary candidates of the two major parties (the Republican Party and Democratic Party) to engage in a debate. The series of debates are conducted before a live audience and television viewers. Topics to be discussed in the debate are among majority of the controversial issues at the time. The November 2012 election is not any different as President Obama, and Governor Mitt Romney were engaged in a series of debates. The Vice presidential debate conducted between Republican Paul Ryan and Joe Biden is also a significant factor in the presidential elections. Debates purpose to provide undecided voters with options in terms of a political party and ideology. Most elections are determined by the debates.
The first 2012 presidential debate on October 3 mainly focused on key aspects of the economy. There was little agreement between the two challengers. Mitt Romney aggressively challenged President Barack Obama and the current economic situation America. Romney stated that the status quo was not helping most Americans. Among the main economic issues discussed in the debate were budget deficits, taxes and job creation. Romney declared that reduction in tax rates by 20% would boost the sputtering economy. However, Obama had a strong opposition claiming the tax cuts would have a total cost of $5 trillion and benefit wealthy Americans over middle class citizens. However, Romney countered the statements by saying the tax plan would benefit small businesses to create employment opportunities for more people.
Issues such as retirement plans, Medicare and popularly known “Obamacare” took center stage throughout the debate. Mitt Romney won the presidential debate because of his economic policies. Polls conducted after the debate asserted the Mitt Romney was ahead. A major concern for Americans is the current economic crisis with national unemployment levels reaching a new high this year. Romney addressed the issues and provided suitable solutions that may remove America from the present predicament. Despite Obama’s attempts to convince voters that his administration was addressing the problems, Romney provided suitable grounds for his argument.
The vice-presidential debate between Paul Ryan and Joe Biden also centered on issues of the economy. They discussed loss of jobs in states all over America, tax rates and tax cuts, foreign policy, Medicare and Obamacare. Joe Biden staged an aggressive performance towards issues raised by Paul Ryan. Even though Ryan was doing his first debate he performed well for a first timer. Biden attacked Romney’s policy Byzantine tax returns, with claims it would have negative economic effects. Paul Ryan also challenged Biden who is a veteran in international affairs, on the question of foreign policy. He showed considerable command of foreign issues by attacking Obama on his stand on the Libyan embassy attacks.
The debate ended in a draw despite both candidates presenting strong arguments. The draw was a boost to Obama’s campaigns after a poor performance with the Romney debate. Ryan’s stand on various policies in the Obama administration was insightful, but Joe Biden was also firm in defending the policies. Foreign policy offered an upper hand to Joe Biden but Paul Ryan’s reference to killings at the USA embassy. His statement on Obama’s declaration that it was an act of terror two weeks later was a highlight to most citizens on the ongoing war against terror. The draw is also an indicator that the consecutive debates may go either side.
Earlier debates are powerful in helping voters learn and study their preferred candidate. The first debate is considered the most crucial offering listeners more information. Mitt Romney’s and Obama’s debate came at a time when voters had little information and were still undecided. The debate shaped the perception of this group of voters. Both nominees took on perceptions and deceptions perpetuated by the opposing side inclusive of Obamacare and tax rates. Undecided voters will decide on who is the stronger candidate and support their bid.
The fact that fewer Americans do not follow up on the other debates presents a decided section of people on their support for either candidate. Consequently, they are among the decisive factors on the Election Day. However, some analysts view debates as a forum for the least known candidate to present his ideology. Accordingly, they view the debates as sources of information but not the only decisive factor. Some voters are not keen on the policies or principles of both candidates but focus on issues such as the person who looks “big enough” or are swayed by other forces that are not political.
Debates have a profound impact on the U.S elections. Many Americans use the debate as a source to understand policies and political ideologies of each of the candidate. Debates have influenced the American vote in the past, and the Obama and Romney candidature will not be different. Though debates have an impact on the electoral process, it is not the only element for reaching the voters. Other methods candidates such as Barack Obama and Mitt Romney use in the campaign strategy are advertisements (television, web, radio and print) endorsements and other techniques that will influence voters to vote for them.
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