Watching the Presidential Political Debate

Guidelines for Watching the Presidential Political Debate

How to get the most out of a political debate:

Focus your attention on a few key points. Know what it is you want in an office holder, then watch and listen to see which candidate best fits your ideal.

The following suggestions will help guide you:

? Don?t watch a debate to determine a winner or loser. Instead, evaluate each candidate according to your own personal ideas and standards. Focus on the question, ?Who would make a better president??

? Set aside your partisan views. Listen to the debates to learn as much as possible about all candidates and their positions.

? Pay close attention to the candidates when they talk about how to solve problems.

? Listen carefully for comparisons candidates make between or among their programs and their opponents?.

? Identify the images, which candidates try to create for themselves. Most candidates try to portray themselves as leaders and identify themselves with cherished American values while suggesting that their opponents lack these qualities.

Presidential Debate Questionnaire

1. Consider the questions asked by the moderator. The essence of the debate is comparison and contrast. How do the questions themselves shape the debate?

2. Identify the candidate?s debate strategy. Does the candidate speak directly to the issues, provide specifics, and present new policies or information? Does the candidate evasively answer questions to suit his/her agenda?

3. What issues are being raised by the candidate(s)? Are there any one or two issues that are most dominant?

4. What stances are the candidates taking? What policy proposals are being offered in conjunction with each candidate?s position on the issues? Does the candidate’s position reflect that of his or her party? Why or why not?

5. Is the candidate defining his or her own stance in relation to an opponent or an opponent’s party?

6. Are there any issues currently a part of the public policy debate that the candidates are not addressing?

7. Was the event you viewed an effective way to obtain information about the candidates’ positions on issues?

8. What are the purposes of events held by political parties in an election year?

9. Do candidates simply say what they believe, or might they employ a strategy with regards to issues?

10.Identify at least three ways a candidate is using issues to appeal to voters. Has the candidate appealed to your beliefs?

11. Will the candidate win based on the issues? Evaluate the effectiveness of the candidate’s appeal on issues.

12. How do you feel about each candidate?s solutions?

13. Did any of your solutions match those of a candidate? Might this be a good reason to vote for a candidate?

14. What should/could you do if you feel you have a good idea for a solution?

(Kids Voting USA Inc., 2000; C-SPAN Classroom, 2016)

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