2016 Archives

Final debate promises to be a dirty one

What to expect when all the rules have been broken

October 18, 2016

DALLAS (SMU)SMU experts are available for interview on all things related to the presidential race, leading up to and after the last scheduled debate Wednesday, Oct. 19. A full list of available SMU faculty and their areas of expertise is available here.

 

EXPECT MUD, MUD, MUD

Matthew WilsonMATTHEW WILSON:
jmwilson@smu.edu

On whether to expect mud or policy…

  • “I’ll be looking to see if there is any substantive exchange on policy issues. So much of the campaign right now is about personal questions, like Donald Trump’s past and whether he did or did not grope those women, (and) what constitutes sexual assault. On Hillary Clinton’s side, the WikiLeaks email dumps have obscured any discussion of trade, or foreign or domestic policy for weeks.
  • “It will be interesting to see if the debate moderators or the candidates want to delve further into the tabloid-fodder side of this election or if they want to focus on substance – I’m betting against the latter.”

Wilson is an SMU associate professor of Political Science

Books published:

  • 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.

 

TAKING THE SILENT TREATMENT TO THE DEBATE STAGE

Stephanie MartinSTEPHANIE MARTIN:
samartin@mail.smu.edu

On whether Clinton can win the debate by being invisible…

  • “Normally a candidate wants to be the story – not this year. It’s almost like no matter what the outcome of this election, 2016 will go down in history as the year of the Trump. That will be the historic narrative.
  • “What I’ll be watching for in this debate is whether or not letting the election be about Trump remains Clinton’s strategy. Is it smart to just let Donald Trump bluster and take up as much of the debate stage as he wants to? Based on his action and activity and rhetoric after the second debate, it seems that’s what he’ll want to do.
  • “There have been tens of thousands of WikiLeaks email releases and there’s quite a lot he can throw at her, and I’m wondering what her strategy will be if he brings that. It appears she’d like to let him speak as much as he wants, but it strikes me as an unusual strategy to say, ‘Hey, my best strategy to winning this election is to say as little as possible.’”

Martin is an SMU assistant professor of Communication Studies in the Meadows School of the Arts

Can Discuss:

  • economic messages in political campaigns
  • presidential campaign strategy
  • religious voters and evangelical social movements

 

HOW TO LAY THE GROUNDWORK FOR A RALLY

Ben VothBEN VOTH:
bvoth@smu.edu

On how Trump’s slide in the polls impacts his debate strategy…

  • “You have to be more aggressive when you’re the underdog. There will be more dramatic statements and things like that from Trump. He’s been pretty aggressive already, but that will probably increase. He might try to make new arguments that he hasn’t presented in the past – that’s a typical debate tactic for playing from behind late in the game.”

Voth is SMU’s director of debate and an associate professor of corporate communications and public affairs

Can discuss:

  • debate prep
  • debate strategy
  • comparisons between this debate season and the 2012 election’s debate season

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