The Pacific Index

Political Science professor weighs in on debate

Quinn Sykora

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The Democratic Party has said they will not be doing a debate with Fox News this upcoming election season. The decision, made because of alleged bias toward President Donald Trump, was announced almost two weeks ago.

A large discussion about whether or not this was the right decision has broken out. Bill Maher, an outspoken democrat, criticized the party saying that they “look weak,” even making a comparison to something Trump would normally do.

Dr. James Moore, a political science professor at Pacific University, has years of experience with elections. According to Moore, “This move reflects the current polarized and partisan political climate.”

Moore said that this decision was not much of a surprise, especially since the New Yorker recently released an article alleging how pro-Trump Fox News is. He also pointed out that this is a primary debate.

“While there can be tens of millions watching the general election debates in the fall, the primary debates are only of interest to Democratic Party activists and political junkies.”

Though some have started questioning if this decision could impact the election overall. Moore thinks that it potentially could.

“There is some thought that disaffected Trump voters who watch Fox will miss out on the Democratic debates. In this argument, it would be good to hold the debates on Fox to reach out to these Republican voters,” Moore said.

However, Moore also pointed out that if voters have an interest in these debates, they will like just watch it on a different channel. He also made a few comments on how the debates themselves actually work.

“The debates are actually pretty worthless in terms of learning about candidates,” Moore said. “The candidates are trained to stick to their campaign talking points—which we already know—and the questions do not push much beyond those boundaries. So, if you are interested in issues, the debates will give you nothing.”

Moore says the best someone can take away from debates is an understanding of what the candidate is like as a person. But even still, the candidates are not their “real” selves while speaking on such a large platform, trying to get votes. According to Moore, “The candidates are acting in a manner that will attract attention and voters, not as they will as president.”

Lastly, Moore commented on how very little actually matters at this point in the race.

“At this point in 2007, Hillary Clinton had a lock on the nomination,” Moore said. “That weirdly-named guy from Illinois, Barack Obama, was an interesting idea, but he did not make much of an impact on the public at that point.”

And then of course President Obama was elected. Moore said that the current front runners are just individuals whose names voters recognize. But with Trump in the White House, and both sides of the political aisle fired up, 2020 is sure to produce an exciting election.

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Political Science professor weighs in on debate