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Inside the Presidential DebatesTheir Improbable Past and Promising Future$
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Newton N. Minow and Craig L. LaMay

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780226530413

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226530390.001.0001

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The Commission on Presidential Debates and Its Critics

The Commission on Presidential Debates and Its Critics

(p.61) 4 The Commission on Presidential Debates and Its Critics
Inside the Presidential Debates
University of Chicago Press

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

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