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North Texas Political Science Experts React to 2020 Presidential Debate

Posted: September 30, 2020

North Texas political scientist experts react to Tuesday night’s Presidential Debate.

University of North Texas Debate Coach Brian Lane said moderator Chris Wallace wasn’t able to control them.

“I felt for him. We were joking that Wallace should get hazzard pay for that kind of appointment,” said Lane.

Lane said Americans really didn’t get much of a debate at all, more name calling.

“We got a lot of exchange back and forth, name calling…there was a lot of missed opportunity there,” he said.

Lane said candidates didn’t really take advantage of the opportunity to address important issues.

Lane did though pay close attention to their body language.

“The president was on the attack was very animated…When Biden was talking Trump was visibly upset,” he said.

Lane said Biden did look directly at the camera to appeal to the American people however, he did get easily interrupted.

“I expected Biden to be more on the attack and he could’ve done a better job,” said Lane.

Dr. Ben Voth Director of Debate for SMU’s Dedman College said it’s unlikely for voters to be swayed after a presidential debate. “Probably less than 3% can be persuaded…It does matter but does it turn a switch? It’s hard to say,” said Voth. “One of the things I also want to point out is that this can have a secondary effect on if a person will vote or not if they are undecided,” he said.

Voth believes Chris Wallace didn’t do a great job because he was too involved. “I know he’s a great journalist and a smart guy but these moderators need to be less involved and there’s simple technical solutions like turning off microphones…there was too much intervention and long talks from the moderator, too much judgment…we wanted to hear more from the debaters,” he said.

Voth hopes that the next debate will be more structured with less over talk with each other. READ MORE