Debate Watching Strategies . . . Time for a Change

It hardly seems possible. It was just a few weeks ago when we were front row center for the first Republican debate. We watched The Donald grab front row center attention. Sure, he might be considered bombastic and egocentric but, one thing he is not . . . is boring. We were hooked, waiting anxiously for him to blow his own horn while putting down his opponents. Now that we know how he plays the game and have another Republican debate under our belts, maybe our debate watching strategy should change. Rather than being amused and entertained by these diversionary tactics, we should return to a focus on issue, concerns and policy analsyis. In fact, after last Wednesday’s debate (September 16), maybe we should refine our debate watching strategies. Remember, the Democratic Party will be hosting its debate on October 13.

Now’s the time to focus. Here are some tips:

1. Listen to the moderator’s questions. Refuse to get pulled into a candidate’s diversionary responses . . . put downs and attacks on other candidates. Don’t get caught in razzle dazzle answers. Instead, listen for answers that reveal a problem-solving strategy or plan.

2. Don’t get pulled into grand schemes. While this might not be the time for policy specifics; at the very least, attention to the “hows” of policy implementation must be considered. Just remember, the “how” question is the bottem line for every policy directive.

3. Pay attention to details. Remember, the presidency is not a one-stop shopping center. Listen for assessments that will include engagement and involvment of others engaged in the process — specifically, Congress.

4. Don’t get pulled into flip/flops. Try to recall the candidates previous perpectives. Comparison is the key. Is there a reason for a change from a previous perspective? Listen closely for explanations.

5. Below the belt punches of other candidates may be entertaining; but, remember to keep your eyes on the prize: the really important issues: the economy, employment, education, etc.

6. Finally, the “what’s in it for me” question. As selfish as this may be, the reality is we all have concerns that motivate and drive us. Listen closely.

Ultimately, this is just a beginning. The game is far from over.

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