Tuesday, September 29, 2020

The Decline of Debates

At last word, there will be a presidential debate tonight between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. [Click here for C-Span coverage.]

Some bloggers, in the spirit of fun, will be drunk-blogging the brawl and injecting humor fueled by alcohol.

My approach is far less entertaining. I am offering a link to the transcripts of the Lincoln-Douglas debates.

In those days, political candidates had serious exchanges and the key issue - slavery - was as serious as it could get. Consider the fact that their large audience could follow the complexity of the related arguments. Compare that with today's audiences. Hmm.

You may be inspired to start drinking.


By the way, I loathe the format of modern presidential debates. The questioners are seldom top-drawer, the moderators are usually biased (remember Candy Crowley?), and the person who wins the debate is not necessarily the best person for the office. It is far from unusual to read the news coverage on the morning after the debate and wonder if you and the reporters watched the same event. 

My guess is that many reporters finished writing their debate assessments several days ago.

[Book recommendation: "Crisis of the House Divided: An Interpretation of the Issues in the Lincoln - Douglas Debates" by Harry V. Jaffa. It is extraordinary.]

[Photo by Bob Fisher at Unsplash]

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