6.17.15: A History of Presidential Debates & How to Handle the Massive GOP Candidate Field

Jun 17, 2015

Before Carter versus Ford, presidential debates weren’t considered a necessary part of the election process, but today, the debate stage is like the Roman Coliseum.

On today’s show, we’ll look at the history of zingers, gaffes, and memorable moments from behind the podium. Then, with a pool of candidates growing at a near exponential rate, debate planning has become a headache for the GOP. We’ll look at how party leaders and the media could take advantage of the enormous field.

Listen to the full show:

A History of Presidential Debates

Have there always been debates? And is there any precedence for such a large field of hopefuls in the race for the nomination? NHPR's Brady Carlson discusses the history of presidential debates and shares a few memorable moments from past match-ups.

Re-imagining the Presidential Debates

Seth Masket is a political scientist at the University of Denver, specializing in political parties, state legislatures, campaigns and elections, and social networks. Seth thinks the massive field of candidates could be seen as a feature instead of a bug. He outlined his vision for the debates for Pacific Standard: “The Republican Reality Show

Hip Hop Takes the Podium

When you think debate club, hushed rooms, suit coats, ties, and Alex P. Keaton-types may come to mind, but there’s a completely new style of debate emerging on college campuses, and it’s attracting a fresh set of young voices. State of the Re:Union and producer J.P. Davidson bring us this story.

You can listen to this story again at PRX.org.

Racial Identity in the Age of Plastic Surgery

In some extreme cases, the question of racial identity is being hashed out in the doctor’s office through a process colloquially known as “ethnic plastic surgery”, a process that is on the rise. Maureen O’Connor wrote about the rise in an article for New York Magazine “Is Race Plastic? My Trip into the ‘Ethnic Plastic Surgery’ Minefield”.