Judging the presidential debates your own way


Dylan Bryant, Reporter

In 1960, 70 million Americans turned on their black-and-white television sets to watch Vice President Richard Nixon debate Senator John F. Kennedy in what was the first televised presidential debate. While President Lyndon Johnson would refuse to participate in 1964, and Nixon, having lost miserably to Kennedy in 1960, would refuse to debate in 1968 and 1972, in 1976 the debates began again, and they’ve been part of the American political system ever since.

While perhaps no debate will have as much influence on an election as that first one between Nixon and Kennedy did, on Sept. 26, 2016, millions of Americans will turn on their televisions to watch Hillary Clinton, former senator and Secretary of State, debate business mogul Donald Trump, and given what has taken place already in this election, there is no telling what could happen on that Monday night.

As of the date of this publication, the candidates are neck-and-neck in the polls going into the debates, and both seem to be trying to redefine their image in what has been a historically volatile campaign season. The two candidates are amongst the least popular to ever face off for the highest office in the land.

While everyone is sure to judge the candidates in their own way, Bakersfield College Political Science Professor Edward Borgens has some advice for those looking to judge who did the best. He says three things to keep in mind when watching the debates are to try and learn more about their background, listen to how well the candidates “respond to the actual questions” and to see how well they behave under pressure. He also says that he “finds it useful to listen to various political panels (both liberal and conservative) that analyze the debate ‘results’ and do some valuable fact-checking on some of the more controversial answers provided by the candidates.”

The debate will be hosted by Hofstra University in New York and moderated by NBC’s Lester Holt. It will be broadcast across all major networks, and is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.