Student Op-Eds

The Week in Review: The 2012 Presidential Debate Part II

Lauren Dunne ’13

In the past two weeks since the first Presidential debate, we have seen changes in the polls that show the Republican Party making what some people are calling a “comeback.” In the New York Time article, 2nd Presidential Debate Is Less Formal, but Little Is Left to Chance, the writer suggests that despite the informal setting of the debate, it is still a serious town hall for both candidates. It’s interesting assessing what has happened in previous town hall debates, such as in 1992 when President Bush deliberately looked at his watch to show his dismissive attitude about the current topic. Also, the moment in the 2000 debate when Al Gore walked across the stage and made everyone feel incredibly uncomfortable by invading Bush’s “personal bubble” was similarly puzzling. In both of these instances, the behavior of the candidates significantly impacted how critics categorized their “town hall” debates. It will be interesting to see how the laid back setting (although it is rehearsed and rigid in time) will contribute to the flow of the event. Will President Obama make a firm stand by attacking Governor Romney’s past comments and policies or will his strategy be to thoroughly focus on the questioned posed? This article is particularly important this week as we eagerly wait to see how this upcoming debate will alter the poll results as it did two weeks ago and if the debate has the potential to give either candidate a solid lead as Election Day nears.

Along the same topic of the upcoming debate, the article Most Crucial Time for Candidates May Be After the Debate, gives us political insight into how post-debate campaigning is essential this cycle. The author suggests that if the debate is a draw, which is likely if Obama and Romney both come across as articulate and poised, it’s the campaign’s response to the event that will matter in the week following this debate. Each media team is already working hard to come up with post debate tweets and facebook posts, anticipating its result. In the context of a world changed by technological advancements, this article proves the intensity of campaigning via media outlooks that target the younger generations. The power each candidate holds is reflected through the people they can reach via Twitter and Facebook. Because more people will tune into their computers on social media websites rather than watching the “town hall” debate live on Tuesday, targeting the post debate media on both sides is extremely important. It’s obvious that social media is a strategy for both candidates, but to what extent is social media taking over the campaigning world and will we see this trend continue into 2016?

It seems as though the economy is what is on the forefront of pundit’s minds in this election. Yet, there are some interesting situations on the international field that could change and affect the foreign policy of each candidate. In the New York Times article, Two Sides Trade Criticism in Rancor Over Libya Attack, Brian Knowlton describes the Republican skepticism about what really happened in the attacks in Libya. This contributes to a fear in the Republican Party that Obama’s administration has inaccurately discussed what happened with the American public. It seems as though this is a “witch hunt” tactic used by the Republican Party against the Democratic Party in such an intense election. Perhaps this is an efficient strategy, but it won’t be that important during the election because of the domestic issues that seem to be taking over perceptions and opinions about American Politics.

This past week has proven to be an exciting build up for what will probably a very exciting and interesting debate on Tuesday night. The anticipation of both parties to get past the debate shows the eagerness to proceed forward in campaigning efficiently through using the power of social media coverage of political events. This reveals a shift in the way political information is available to the public and raises questions about whether the future of the country could be significantly impacted by this trend.