Chapter

The Commission on Presidential Debates and Its Critics

in Inside the Presidential Debates

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2008 | ISBN: 9780226530413
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226530390 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226530390.003.0005
The Commission on Presidential Debates and Its Critics

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Institutionalizing presidential debates had been the goal of the League of Women Voters, but by 1984 it was clear that it simply did not have the clout to succeed. In 1976, 1980, and 1984, the debates occurred only after a long period of sporadic negotiations followed by a late flurry of eleventh-hour negotiations between the leading candidates and, in an ever-diminishing role, the League. After the 1984 campaign, two distinguished national organizations, the Georgetown Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Harvard University Institute of Politics, independently conducted detailed studies of the process involved in presidential elections generally and the presidential debates specifically. In 1987, the independent Commission on Presidential Debates was created. Since then, the Commission has institutionalized the presidential debates, but its reliance on the two major parties, the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, has drawn sharp criticism from people. However, much of what critics find to fault in the televised presidential debates has nothing to do with the Commission.

Keywords: Commission on Presidential Debates; Republican Party; Democratic Party; League of Women Voters; Georgetown Center for Strategic and International Studies; Harvard University Institute of Politics; presidential elections; televised presidential debates

Chapter.  8867 words. 

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