Jun 25, 2024

Historically presidential debates have rarely ever decided the outcome of the election.  Not like the Kentucky Derby.  That may not be the case with the forthcoming debate between Presidents Biden & Trump.

Today’s political environment is extreme and polarized with voters acquainted with both candidates.  Most people who watch presidential debates do not view them to persuaded…but to “see how their candidate is going to dominate, smear or embarrass the other candidate” according to Jay Van Bael, an associate professor of psychology and neural science at New York University.

They may get an eye full based on the current performance of one debater.

This debate could have a huge impact since there are so few voters to shift. It will be an opportunity for the candidates to consolidate their base, plus have a shot at swing voters, independent and undecided ones.

FiveThirtyEight, an American website focused on opinion poll analysis says the 2024 campaign is incredibly close.  They have run 100 simulations with Trump wining 50 and Biden wins 49.  There’s approximately 1% chance neither wins the Electoral College.  In 4 simulations, no candidate wins a majority of the Electoral College votes, which would throw the election into the House of Representatives.

A most important factor not to be overlooked is how the candidate’s loyalists react.  It takes thousands of volunteers, enthusiasm and strong GOTV (Get Out The Vote) work to win.   Despite millions of dollars spent on advertising nothing can replace door knocks, telephone calls and personal contact with friends and even family (in my opinion).

Axios points out another aspect.  Debates have always been about soundbites. An explosive debate moment could be seen by far more undecided voters in post debate mainstream media coverage. Pew Research says today half of the U. S. adults get news from social media.

The stakes are enormous…and so is saving our democracy.


Skip to content