By Ashley Summerfield
In the past several weeks, the race for the 2016 President has continued as candidates have participated in debates within the two major parties. Each candidate has his or her own style and tactic when it comes to participating in these debates and this helps viewers get to know the candidates better.
Junior occupational therapy major Megan Jesse says, “You can see the candidates who are truly passionate about changing our country for the better and the ones who just like the idea of being president.”
The 2016 Presidential race has developed very early on compared to presidential elections in the past. Democratic candidate, Hilary Clinton, refers to the 2016 election as a “watershed election,” which is a campaign that decides the course of politics for decades. Many experts say that this will be an election to remember due to the abundance of controversial issues stirring.
The first Democratic debate was held on Oct. 13 in Las Vegas, where 43.3 percent of viewers felt that Hilary Clinton had won the debate. While many sources credit Clinton with the victory, several publications claimed that Bernie Sanders pulled ahead. In regards to social media, Sanders had the most support on both Twitter and Facebook, which can be credited to Sanders appeal to the youth population.
Soon after, candidates met again in Des Moines, Iowa. The day before this debate, Nov. 13, was the day of the Paris attacks, so viewers could predict the topics of discussion: foreign policy and terrorism. Clinton was criticized for her performance during this debate.
The most recent debate occurred on Dec. 19 in Goffstown, New Hampshire. The topics covered included Sanders’ campaign’s breach of Clinton’s campaign data, strategy for defeating ISIS, gun control, issues in Syria, Wall Street, and the Middle East.
The first Republican debate took place Aug. 6 in Cleveland, including 10 Republican candidates. Trump was afforded the most speaking time in the main debate, followed by Bush. A record-setting 24 million people tuned in to watch the debate, setting records for the most-watched presidential primary debate ever and the highest-rated non-sports telecast in cable television history. In the main debate, front-runner Trump was criticized for being rude and arrogant by many pundits, while some concurred that his statements were popular and his criticisms were overdue. Cruz, Rubio, Christie, and Huckabee all received praise based on their performance in the debate.
On Sept. 16, candidates met again in Simi Valley, California. The primary focus of the debate was on Carly Fiorina, the only candidate who stood out in the previous undercard debate, which then qualified her for the primetime debate. Analysts agreed that Fiorina was successful in this debate. Rubio was viewed as another lead performer that night as his poll numbers began to increase significantly in the days to follow.
The third Republican debate took place on Oct. 28 in Boulder, Colorado. During this debate, 10 candidates discussed economy. This debate consisted of several clashes between the candidates and the moderators. The moderators were criticized for extreme rudeness toward candidates throughout the debate. Viewers credited Rubio, Cruz, and Christie with the win, primarily based on their attacks toward the moderators.
The most recent Republican debate took place in Las Vegas on Dec. 15. It was the second debate aired on CNN, with over 18 million viewers, making it the third-largest audience ever for a presidential primary debate.
Over the past few months, each debate has helped viewers develop a better understanding of each candidate’s intensions and potential. Some candidates have improved their approval rating, while others have gone down in the polls. Nonetheless, the 2016 presidential election is approaching and each debate plays an important role in the turnout of the upcoming elections.
“The debates right now are so important because they help young voters like us learn what we believe and who our beliefs line up with best,” said Jesse.
Upcoming Democratic debates will take place on Jan. 17 airing on NBC News, Feb. 11 on PBS, and Mar. 9 broadcasted by The Washington Post.
Upcoming Republican debates are scheduled for Jan. 28 airing on Fox News, Feb. 6 on ABC, Feb. 13 on CBS, Feb. 26 on NBC News, and Mar. 10 to air on CNN.