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Published in: Society 6/2020

01-12-2020 | Symposium – The State of American Politics

Primary Debates and the Presidential Nomination Process

Author: Christopher J. Galdieri

Published in: Society | Issue 6/2020

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Abstract

Debates have become a centerpiece of the presidential nominating contest. In this essay, I explore the role debates played in the Democrats’ 2020 primaries. While debates can help voters make decisions about candidates, several aspects of the way debates are held may have unintentional impacts on the nominating process. The Democrats struggled with an oversized field of candidates, and their solutions to this challenge probably hurt the chances of several worthy candidates. Meanwhile, news outlets’ use of debates as major events that showcase their journalists and elaborate production values often overshadows the candidates on stage. In preparing for 2024’s primary debates, America’s political parties should nevertheless avoid the trap of trying to fix the debates of 2020, and focus instead on creating debate formats that best serve the interests of candidates and rank-and-file party members.
Footnotes
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Candidates had to find donors from at least 20 states.
 
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Metadata
Title
Primary Debates and the Presidential Nomination Process
Author
Christopher J. Galdieri
Publication date
01-12-2020
Publisher
Springer US
Published in
Society / Issue 6/2020
Print ISSN: 0147-2011
Electronic ISSN: 1936-4725
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s12115-020-00545-9