The Great Debate: Style or Substance?
The first presidential debate in 1960 was a creation of the television age, and it quickly entered its founding lore. We’re told those who saw the debate on TV favored the handsome, well made-up Kennedy. Radio listeners, on the other hand, thought Nixon had won. Evidence supporting this story is shoddy — a mix of anecdote, assumptions and a debunked survey – but the story continues to shape how we understand debates today.
Many historians say there is a misplaced focus on the ability of make-up – or other non-substantive aspects of performance – to deliver political victory, when debates have become one of our most important civic rituals, allowing glimpses into candidate’s character that comes from them defending their ideas in an unscripted, high-stakes environment. But what impact has the changing media landscape had on debates? And what does that mean for this election?
More Like This
How Segregation Influenced Evangelical Political Activism
While abortion is often cited as the motivation behind evangelical Christians becoming politically active in the 1970s, there's another little-known reason that involves the IRS and segregated schools.
The Roots of Evangelicals’ Political Fervor
White evangelical Christians are among President Trump’s most important supporters. But more than 40 years ago, they were on the margins of American politics.
Future of Cities
In the latest installment of our “What Happens Next” series examining the future of society, we visit Medellín, Colombia—a city that has reinvented itself over the past few decades, turning its violent past into a sustainable future by transforming its slums.
Bitter Supreme Court Confirmations: From Bork to Kavanaugh
Leading up to the SCOTUS confirmation hearing of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, we explored how the bitter hearings over Judge Robert Bork changed how nominees answer, or rather, don't answer questions.