Political debates much overrated

Hillary Clinton got the best of Donald Trump, generally in the series of debates they had as the Democratic and Republican parties’ nominees respectively, leading up to last November’s presidential election in the United States.


Trump however bowled her over with Electoral College votes and is now rounding out into a president with some promise, within the first 100 days.


Mitt Romney cleaned up the ground with Barack Obama during their first debate prior to the 2012 US Presidential Election. However, the end result was a second term for Obama. Thus, the case can be argued and made, that while presidential debates have proven quite popular through the years, especially since John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon went at it, they don’t necessarily determine the best choice in the minds of voters.


Now, presently the leader of the hapless Democratic National


Alliance Party (DNA), Branville McCartney and two-term Prime Minister Perry Christie of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) seem eager for a national debate among the chief political standard bearers.


Dr. Hubert Minnis, Leader of the Free National Movement, has been lukewarm to the idea and accordingly has drawn criticisms from certain quarters. Dr. Minnis seems bound to stay on his course of moving about the country and spending quality time interacting directly with the people, one-on-one in as many instances as is possible.


Can he defeat the more eloquent Christie and McCartney in a national debate? That is indeed doubtful. They would sound better then him even if he brings substances on issues and they are vague and non-commital. A lot of debates have been won more by style and presentation, rather than substance.


The view here is that it would be best, at some point before the general election date of May 10, if Christie, McCartney and Dr. Minnis agree to afford a select group of leading journalists, a forum to fire questions at them on their ideas for the future of this country.


In the case of Christie, it would be the appropriate opportunity also to question him in depth about his successes and failures. Such a scenario would be a better guide for the voters than a pure debate.


A debate would be a welcome event for Christie and his supporters though. That would be his element. He could prim the mouth and go into a diatribe against his rivals, or offer very appealing words to listeners. On stage, if one is only hearing words, Christie is one of the smoothest operators ever. So, yes, he would love a debate.


McCartney on the other hand would have an opportunity to gain some respect and appear leader-like. His party has not connected with the general public as expected and it is dangling at the moment. To be on stage with Christie and Dr. Minnis would give the DNA some relevance.


As for Dr. Minnis, if he keeps the current course and allows the DNA and the PLP to push the debate idea, while focusing as he is now, on emphasizing his party’s motto “It’s The people’s Time” that would be best for him, we think.


In any event, political debates, as proven in the past, are overrated.


Published  Tuesday, April 18, 2017 

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