For more than half a century, presidential debates have been venerated rituals and important moments to sway voters before an election. It is a chance for the American public to see the candidates side by side, unscripted, discussing, and debating issues of public interest.
This year, with the stakes higher than ever, the candidates squared off in one vice presidential and two presidential debates. The events generated fireworks and controversy, but also memorable exchanges and substantive discussion. Still, some argue these debates are built on a format whose time has passed. The Commission on Presidential Debates defends these showdowns as vital components of America’s political process.
How important are the debates, especially in a deeply divided country? What can be done to improve them? Do presidential debates have a future at all?
Less than a month after the election SMPA will host the definitive conversation about the impact of the presidential debates. Hear from moderators who sat in the front row of 10’s of millions and tried to keep the candidates on track and from the debate commission co-chairs. SMPA’s Frank Sesno, former White House correspondent and CNN Washington Bureau Chief will be the moderator.
Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., Co-chair of The Commission on Presidential Debates and SMPA National Council Member
Kenneth Wollack, Co-chair of The Commission on Presidential Debates
Susan Page, Journalist and Washington Bureau Chief for USA Today and the Moderator of the 2020 Vice-Presidential Debate
Chris Wallace, Fox News Journalist and Moderator of the 2020 Presidential Debate