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Televised Debates and Primaries Essay.

Televised Debates and Primaries Essay.

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Published by twigspan
A2 Government and Politics
US Politics
Mock Exam
A2 Government and Politics
US Politics
Mock Exam

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Published by: twigspan on Jan 06, 2011
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01/06/2011

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Hannah EachusQuestion 1a) Explain the significance of the televised debates in Presidential election campaigns?The first Presidential election debate broadcast on television was in 1960, between Kennedy and Nixon, it attracted audiences of 66 million and is arguably, still the most significant debate to ever occur in US politics. The significance of the debate is that it can change the whole course of anelection. In 1960 the front runner was Richard Milhous Nixon however is untidy demeanour, paleskin, sweating upper lip and pained facial expressions lost him the debate and the election. A debatesupposedly entirely about policy, was won by a tanned suave sailing millionaire. Subsequentdebates have also demonstrated the significance of the televised debate. In 2008 Senator JohnMcCain was told my his staff to not directly address Senator Barack Obama, in an attempt to mask his contempt for Obama, McCain didn't look at him once. This created a cold atmosphere and madeMcCain look very odd and unrelaxed compared to the open handed, eye contact making Barack Obama. While the debates can win or lose you the election, they can also increase your profile,large sections of the population hadn't heard of Kennedy before the debate, similarly Barack Obamawas a junior senator up against a man who had campaigned for the Presidency before. Furthermorein a media centric and long campaign the only time you get to talk policy, and be in the same stateas your opponent, is at the debates. The US debates over time have become more about style rather than policy, following on from the legacy left by JFK, however in 2010 in the UK when the firsttelevised Prime Ministerial debate happened many commentators were overwhelmed by thecomparison of US and UK debates. The three 90 minute debates were almost entirely aboutmanifesto policy. However the 'winner' of all three debates was Nick Clegg who was so impressivethat he had over 60% favourables in many polls for three weeks, until election day when his Partylost rather than gained 7 seats. This example shows that the debates can persuade someindependents to vote for you, but its primary role is to 'get out' the core support and reaffirm what people already believed about you. This detracts from the debates significance and certainly makesit not the most important part of a campaign.Question 1 b) 'The advantages of Primary elections vastly outweigh their disadvantages in the selection of each party's presidential nominee'. DiscussA presidential primary is an election where members of the electorate can vote for a candidate for the Republican or Democrat presidential nomination. In an open primary any registered voter canvote, these are favoured more by the democratic party, whilst the republican party usually runs aclosed primary, where only registered republicans can vote. Each Candidate wins delegates (howmany depends on the system, whether it is proportional or winner takes all) that nominate them atthe National Convention at the end of the primary election cycle. The candidates with the mostdelegates by super (dooper) Tuesday were Senators John McCain and Barack Obama making themtheir respective party's nominees. Primaries were introduced nationally to elect Democrat nomineesafter the disastrous 1968 national convention where the nominee was announced as HubertHumphrey, despite him not entering any primary or caucus. This example shows the mainadvantage to a primary election, it's democratic. It enables the people of America to decide acandidate and makes the final two the best choice for President. The review of these candidates bythe media and by the people also gives each candidate a mandate into the presidential election. Italso shows the initial support for a candidate without conducting poll after poll. This early supportcan translate into support at the presidential election day and show a candidate to be popular withthe people. The benefits of these are that the candidates have already taken part in a democratic process and their staffs endurance as well as their own is tested. The primary elections train acandidate to the challenges and calendar faced by all Presidents of the worlds only superpower. An

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