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The National Convention

The National Convention - changed the character of debates...

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The National Convention Every four years, the major parties hold massive conventions, whose major purpose is to choose the party’s nominees for president and vice president. Delegates from across the country arrive, meet with party leaders, and vote on a number of matters. The credentials committee established by each party decides which delegates are legitimate and therefore allowed to participate. The General Election Campaign The general election commences after the conventions. Candidates from Republican, Democratic, and independent parties vie for votes by giving speeches, shaking hands, holding rallies, proposing policies, courting the media, and debating one another. In modern campaigns, the media relentlessly follows candidates and polls likely voters, so coverage often seems akin to sports reporting on pennant races. Many voters rely heavily on the debates to make their choice. Debates in the Television Age Although presidential candidates have debated for a long time, the television age
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Unformatted text preview: changed the character of debates. In 1960, the debates were broadcast for the first time on television. Many people were drawn to the visual appeal of John F. Kennedy: He appeared attractive, athletic, and confident, while Nixon (who was suffering from the flu) appeared uncertain and unattractive. Many famous moments in recent political history occurred during the debates. In 1980, for example, Republican Ronald Reagan began his attack on Democrat Jimmy Carter by saying, “There you go again,” to thunderous applause. George H. W. Bush, meanwhile, hurt himself in the televised presidential debates when he repeatedly looked at his watch while Bill Clinton was speaking. Even though Bush was merely timing Clinton’s speech, many viewers misinterpreted the action as a reflection of boredom and disinterest, which led to drop in the polls for Bush....
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