Mordecai Lee on evaluating candidates in campaign debates
UW-Milwaukee political science professor Mordecai Lee considers how to assess the performance of candidates participating in the first 2024 Republican presidential primary debate held in Milwaukee.
By Steven Potter | Here & Now
August 24, 2023
I think it's important that we not judge winners and losers too quickly, or too glibly. If we were to decide who had the most speaking time, who got the most applause, who got booed the most, or whatever it might be. I don't think that's quite the way to judge the debate. I think the way to say who passed and who failed is were they able to articulate their positions? Were they comfortable? Did anybody commit a gaffe? Did anybody fall off the podium or anything like that? I think all of them got a passing grade. And the ones who are the more interrupting or the more argumentative were not necessarily the winners. If the standard of a debate is, I wanna live to fight another day, and there's the old political maxim, you can't get in trouble for what you don't say, so don't be tempted to swing for the fences, go for the single, even go for the bunt, I think we can say that all of them got passing grades.