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Do you watch political debates on TV?

February 22, 2018
  • Yes
  • No

There’s no denying it: Political debates have always been the Super Bowl of politics. Every election cycle, we gear up to see our potential leaders clash on the big screen. But here’s the real question: Do you actually sit down and watch these verbal gladiators go at it?

If you’re shaking your head ‘yes,’ or if you’re firmly in the ‘no’ camp, you’re definitely not alone. And guess what? There are compelling reasons for both.

Team “YES, I Watch!”

Firstly, let’s dive into why someone might religiously tune into these debates.

1. Information Goldmine:

Watching political debates can be an instant access pass to where a candidate stands on certain issues. In an era where “fake news” buzzes around like an annoying mosquito, hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth can be refreshing. Thomas Jefferson once said, “Information is the currency of democracy.” Watching debates can be like hitting the information jackpot!

2. Entertainment Factor:

Who needs reality TV when you have political debates? There’s drama, unexpected twists, and sometimes even humor.

Fun Fact:

Did you know the longest-running TV debate in U.S. history was in 1988 and lasted for 2 hours and 15 minutes? That’s like watching an entire ‘Avengers’ movie with politicians instead of superheroes!

3. Social Buzz:

Being in the loop helps you engage in water-cooler conversations. The day after a debate, you’re armed with knowledge, ready to discuss, critique, and maybe even meme the highlights.

As journalist David Broder pointed out, “Anybody who wants the presidency so much that he’ll spend two years organizing and campaigning for it is not to be trusted with the office.” Debates give us a close-up look to judge for ourselves.

Team “No”

Now, for those who channel surf right past these debates, let’s see why one might opt for that decision.

1. The Stress Factor:

Let’s keep it real. Sometimes, watching a debate feels like being stuck in a room with people arguing about where to eat for dinner… for hours. For some, the experience might ratchet up the stress levels.

Fun Stat:

According to a 2020 survey, about 38% of Americans reported feeling frustrated after watching a political debate. That’s more than the number of people who get annoyed when their Wi-Fi drops during a crucial scene in their favorite show!

2. Trust in Summaries:

Why watch the whole debate when you can get the gist the next morning? News outlets, bloggers, and even your Aunt Karen on Facebook will undoubtedly share their takeaways.


As Oscar Wilde cleverly put it, “In old days men had the rack. Now they have the press.” In today’s context, we can rely on the media (or social media) to serve us the debate highlights on a silver platter.

3. Overload:

It can feel overwhelming with so many debates and forums happening every election cycle. Some might feel it’s enough to watch one or two key debates rather than every single one.

Curious Stat:

In the 2016 U.S. presidential election cycle, there were a whopping 20 primary debates and forums just for the Republican candidates. If debates were episodes of “Friends,” you’d be binging an entire season!

Now, if we’re talking about debate highlights from recent years, it’s impossible not to mention the 2020 face-offs between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Talk about a mash-up of drama, policy, and, well, interruptions!

Why Some Tuned In:

Clash of Titans:

The Trump-Biden debates were touted as some of the most anticipated in recent history. You had Trump, the incumbent president with his unmistakable style, up against Biden, a veteran of the political arena with decades of experience.

Political analyst Ron Brownstein said of the debates, “This is a contrast between a flamethrower and a fire extinguisher.”

Policy Over Personality… or Vice Versa?

While some viewers were keen on understanding where each candidate stood on issues like healthcare, climate change, and economic policies, others were more drawn to the personalities on display. And there was no shortage of personality!

Fun Fact:

The first debate in 2020 was so filled with interruptions that subsequent debates introduced the idea of muting mics to allow each candidate uninterrupted speaking time.

Setting The Narrative

The debates provided ample talking points for supporters of both sides. Clips from these debates made the rounds on social media platforms, with each side picking moments that they believed showed their candidate in the best light.

Why Some Skipped Out:

Predictable Rhetoric

For some, the Trump vs. Biden debates felt a tad too rehearsed, with each candidate sticking to their well-trodden narratives. A sense of “I’ve heard this before” might have prompted some remote clicking.

Soundbite Culture

With our ever-decreasing attention spans, many might’ve thought, “Why watch a 90-minute debate when I can catch the highlights reel or trending clips later?”

Acclaimed journalist Walter Lippmann once said, “The news and the truth are not the same thing.” The 2020 debates, dissected by media and social platforms, often showcased this disconnect.

3. Emotional Overload:

Given the charged political climate surrounding the 2020 elections, some folks chose self-care over screen time, avoiding potential debate-induced stress.

Curious Stat:

Research from the Pew Research Center showed that over 50% of U.S. adults said talking about the 2020 elections with someone who disagreed with them was “stressful and frustrating.”

In Conclusion

Whether you’re glued to the screen come debate night, or you prefer to Netflix and chill with some non-political drama, your choice is valid. The beauty of living in the digital age is we can choose how, when, and where we consume information.

The real takeaway here? Participate in the democratic process. Whether you watch debates, read summaries, or engage in discussions with friends, staying informed is the name of the game. As we say in the 21st century: You do you!

So, now that you’ve got some insights, what will it be during the next debate? Team ‘Yes’ or team ‘No’? Whatever you choose, grab your popcorn and enjoy the show!

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