September 26, 2016
DALLAS (SMU) – To assist journalists covering tonight’s presidential debate, SMU election experts will be providing live insights throughout the evening. Watch for emails containing quotes from SMU experts for use in your coverage. Below is a list of participating experts, preview quotes, and their areas of expertise.
FINDING THAT WINNING MOMENT
On how to win a debate…
- “What people remember about debates is singular moments and one-liners and this is something that plays to Trump’s strength. Reagan and Carter’s October debate is an example of this. For the first 84 minutes, it was basically a draw, and then in the 85th minute Reagan gave his famous, ‘There you go again,’ line and that’s all anyone remembers.”
Engel is director of the SMU Center for Presidential History.
- When Life Strikes the White House: Death, Scandal, Sickness and Personal Tragedies in the Oval Office, Jeffrey A. Engel and Thomas J. Knock, eds. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017
- Into the Desert: Reflections on the Gulf War, Jeffrey A. Engel, ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012
- Rethinking Leadership and “Whole of Government” National Security Reform, with Joseph R. Cerami. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, 2010
WHEN JOURNALISTS GET DRAGGED ONTO THE DEBATE STAGE
On the moderator, Lester Holt…
- “How the public reacts to the moderator will be interesting. Should the moderator let things fly, or should he be a human fact-checker? How will the public respond one way or another? Look at the criticism Matt Lauer endured after the recent Commander-In-Chief Forum. There’s more of a spotlight on the moderators than ever.”
Batsell is an SMU associate professor of Journalism and a social media specialist.
TRUMP FACES GENDER TEST IN TONIGHT’S DEBATE
On the role gender might play in the debate…
- “The style Trump employed in the GOP debates was very aggressive and personally condescending and it worked well against Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and other GOP opponents, but I think the gender dynamics make that a loser for him in this debate. The question is: Does Trump have another gear? Is there some other style he can adopt other than that? I don’t know. But I think the style that made him look tough against male opponents will make him look bad against a female opponent.”
Wilson is an SMU associate professor of Political Science.
- Politics and Religion in the United States. With Michael Corbett and Julia Corbett-Hemeyer. Routledge Press, 2013.
- Understanding American Politics. With Stephen Brooks and Douglas L. Koopman. University of Toronto Press, 2013.
- From Pews to Polling Places: Faith and Politics in the American Religious Mosaic. Georgetown University Press, 2007. Edited volume including authored chapter.
TRUMP VS CLINTON = BART VS LISA
On who wins in a contest of substance vs style…
- “I read a great line that described this debate as Bart Simpson vs. Lisa Simpson. One candidate might be ready to school the other on substance, but the other is funny and bombastic and it works for them.It will be interesting to see which approach wins tonight.”
Martin is an SMU assistant professor of Communication Studies in the Meadows School of the Arts.
- economic messages in political campaigns
- presidential campaign strategy
- religious voters and evangelical social movements
THE STRATEGY OF REVERSING COURSE
On how each candidate might use debate to attract new voters…
- “Both teams will look for a strategic concession. What can they reverse from their earlier positions that won’t cost them as much as it can gain them? For example, Hillary Clinton might say she’s been critical of George W. Bush in the past, but then say something nice about him to pick up moderate Republicans. The same goes for Donald Trump, who might say he shouldn’t have attacked Ted Cruz. They will be talking to possibly 100 million people, so this is an opportunity to say some small, ironic thing that could bring them two or four million votes.”
Voth is SMU’s director of debate and an associate professor of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs.
- debate prep
- debate strategy
- comparisons between this debate season and the 2012 election’s debate season
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