Election Day is only 11 days away and President Donald Trump and Joe Biden are back on the campaign trail after their second and final debate Thursday evening.
While it wasn’t as chaotic like their first meeting on Sept. 29, there were still a lot of personal attacks, and lines were drawn on key issues.
But will this make a difference when voters head to the polls or send in their mail-in ballots? Dr. Sarah Niebler, an associate professor in the Political Science Department at Dickinson College, weighs in on the final Presidential debate and helps viewers break down what this could mean for the 2020 Presidential Election.
Whether it be the changes the Presidential Debate Commission made or the strategies each candidate used this time around, Dr. Niebler says this debate was equally as important as their first face-off during the 2020 Presidential race.
“This [was] the last probably biggest audience that the two candidates had to potentially affect the outcome over the next eleven days,” said Niebler.
Hypothetically, Niebler says, in political science, debates are seen as mattering more to the challenger rather than the incumbent in terms of name recognition, the candidate’s message.
But in this case, since Joe Biden has had Vice Presidential experience with the Obama Administration and has remained in the public eye, the 2020 Presidential debates are arguably more important for President Trump.
However, Niebler doesn’t believe Thursday evening’s debate greatly influencing voters’ decisions in the next eleven days.
After discussing whether or not a mute button was a change Americans could continue to see in future election debates, Niebler encourages viewers to determine what kind of debate platform serves these presidential election debates best.
“Does it make sense to have a back and forth between candidates,” asked Niebler, “particularly if those candidates don’t agree on some basic facts?”
Niebler also proposed the idea that, in future elections, would Americans best be served by a series of interviews, allowing journalists to specifically and more individually follow up one-on-one with candidates? “Those are questions we should think about in between presidential election years, and not just when candidates are appearing on TV in front of us.”
Finally, Niebler said she believes voters could benefit from an earlier presidential debate, especially if states uphold recent voter reforms made– whether that be earlier voting periods or increased mail-in voting– due to the coronavirus pandemic. In that case, voters would be able to get the information they need regarding key issues prior to sending in a mail-in ballot or filling out election paperwork.