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Why debates are crucial leading up to any election

Posted: Thursday, October 1, 2020. 11:23 am CST.

By Zoila Palma Gonzalez: With national elections scheduled to occur in the United States on November 3 and in Belize on a date yet to be announced, BBN decided to take a closer look at how important debates are leading up to elections.

Millions of people tuned in on Tuesday night for the first US Presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Former Vice President Joe Biden as they discussed issues from healthcare, racial injustice, unemployment among others.

And, Belizeans took to social media to comment on the US presidential debate and called for a debate among political leaders in Belize.

Тhе Веlіzе Сhаmbеr оf Соmmеrсе аnd Іnduѕtrу (ВССІ), Gаlеn Unіvеrѕіtу, аnd RЅV Меdіа Lіmіtеd (Lоvе FМ/ТV) have since partnered to оrgаnіzе thе Рrіmе Міnіѕtеrіаl Dеbаtе 2020.

Тhе оrgаnіzеrѕ ѕау thаt thеу hаvе іnvіtеd thе lеаdеrѕ оf thе fоur соntеѕtіng раrtіеѕ (Unіtеd Dеmосrаtіс Раrtу, thе Реорlеѕ’ Unіtеd Раrtу, thе Веlіzе Рrоgrеѕѕіvе Раrtу, аnd thе Веlіzе Реорlе’ѕ Frоnt) tо раrtісіраtе іn thе еvеnt, whісh wіll bе hеld undеr thе thеmе, “Асhіеvіng Ѕuѕtаіnаblе Dеvеlорmеnt іn Веlіzе.”

Here are some reasons why debates are so important:

1 – Debates serve as a focal point of long political campaigns. Professor Mitchell S. McKinney of the Political Communication Institute at the University of Missouri notes that during debates, voters have the opportunity to compare candidates, side-by-side under equal conditions. Voters also learn more about the candidates’ characters and image.

2 – McKinney also shared that voters are able to notice directly articulated messages by candidates in a situation that they do not control.

3 – Research has shown also that debates generate the greatest amount of media coverage thus garnering more public attention

5 – Debates generate public discussion among voters of key issues affecting the country

6 – Data gathered by the University of Missouri indicated that debates can influence the outcome of elections as it has done in the US.

7 – Debates allow an opportunity for candidates to address key issues they might have not yet touched on

8 – Debates promote accountability of elected officials. Candidates policy positions are recorded and after winning, the public can hold them accountable for those promises.

Overall, political debates highlight the health of democracy. The public is able to view the process as an open and independent transparent process.


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