This will appear in the Farmerville Gazette, Farmerville, Louisiana, USA, the week of August 3rd, 2015

This week the presidential debate season begins. On August 8th the Republican Party will display ten candidates who will meet for a formal debate on the Fox News Channel. Today a total of eighteen Republican candidates are vying for the office of President of the United States, POTUS. The Democratic Party has three candidates at this time with one major front runner, Hillary Clinton. The Republican race on the other hand is a free for all. Top runner is Donald Trump who appeals to the voters and has no political experience. Louisiana’s son, Bobby Jindal, is one of the Republican seventeen, but since he is not in the top ten candidates identified in political polls he will not participate in the debates.
What began in 1960 as a three-debate suite between the Republican and the Democratic candidates for president has now turned into a twelve-debate marathon for the Republican candidates that will last nine months and will eventually spearhead one candidate to be the Republican candidate for president.
The Democratic debates will be six in number and will complete in January, sparing us of the countless deluge of meaningless questions that will be repeated as the voters try to see how one candidate or the other answers the questions, observe facial expressions and wonder who will trip upon some subject that may have little real meaning to the citizens of America.
Once the twelve Republican and six Democratic debates are complete and we end up with two candidates for president, we still have the presidential debates. That schedule is yet to be announced but this will tell us what the future president is all about. The Republican debates and the Democratic debates tell voters from each party what their candidate stands for as it relates to the party. The final set of presidential debates will pit the Republican and Democratic candidates against each other and will tell America what the candidate stands for when it comes to leading the greatest country in the world.
Do debates, attack ads and speeches work? In a work, “yes”, they do work. Twenty-four years ago Desert Storm had ended. George H.W. Bush was president and was viewed worldwide as one of the most powerful men in the world. Pat Buchanan was trying to unseat Busch as the Republican nominee. His attacks were relentless and even though Busch won the nomination the party was split, public opinion had ebbed toward Busch and Bill Clinton won the presidential election, unseating a popular incumbent president.
In 1960 the first televised presidential debate was held. There were to be three in total and there had been no party debates. At the time of the first debate the forerunner was the sitting Vice President of a popular Republican U.S. President, Dwight Eisenhower. His name, Richard Nixon. Following Nixon in the polls was a young Catholic Democratic U.S. Senator. Not only would he be the youngest President if elected, he was also a member of a religion that had never been elected president. His name, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Kennedy nailed the debate and Nixon never recovered. After three debates Nixon’s fate was sealed and suave, good looking and very articulate John Kennedy became our president.
This year will be very interesting at the debates and we will see if the complexion of the verbal battles changes. The forerunner of the Republican nomination is not a politician and said that he has never been in a formal debate. Donald Trump is a businessman and it appears that his ability to speak his mind has led him to be very popular with the Republican voters. He states he has not prepared for the debate but will speak what he thinks when the questions are posed to him. If he comes away from the first debate with either a win or high ratings then the appearance of future debates will be different. August 8th will be very interesting.
What I want to see come from the presidential debates is a candidate and then a president that will be a good communicator, a negotiator that will can collaborate with members of all the political parties, a person that will unify our country, one who clearly articulates what the vision of the country is, has the highest level of integrity and above all else puts the future of the United States of America first and does not worry about his legacy but instead the legacy of America. Do what’s right and let the consequences speak for itself.

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