Why the debates mattered

Joey Demarco

We hear the same thing every election cycle: debates don’t matter. Unless a candidate confesses to murder on stage, a Presidential Debate usually doesn’t change anybody’s mind. This time, however, the debates (well, one of them) made all the difference in the world. If you had told President Obama prior to the first debate that his +5 margin in the polls would suddenly be flipped, he would have said you we crazier than Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock combined.

But that’s exactly what happened. Now, despite the general consensus that the Obama ticket won the debate by 2 wins (Presidential 2 & 3), 1 loss (Presidential 1) and 1 draw (VP Debate, which no one cares about anyway), Obama has been unable to reclaim a statistically significant lead in the polls. Why? All because of one debate. To be fair, Obama clearly lost that debate, but not so badly that it should have completely changed the dynamic of the race. Now, I’m not one who likes to pick a bone with the media for doing their job, but I honestly believe that had his debate performance not been so harshly criticized by every major news network, we would not be facing the terrifying situation of a President Romney. If a man staring down at his podium because he can’t bear to look at the man next to him spitting out lies is enough to cost him the Presidency, then there is something seriously wrong with our voting process. In terms of logic and knowing your position, Obama won the first debate.

Now, the Democrats find themselves in a completely unexpected position. For a while, it looked like they might win the White House be 10 percentage points and possibly regain control of the House of Representatives. Now, their Presidential candidate is in back and forth race, they’ve lost momentum in races nationwide, and all of this to a party that probably won’t be around in the next 20 years. Now that the debates are over, Obama is sure to make up ground in the polls due to his far superior ground game. The question remains whether or not Romney’s lead from the first debate will be enough to tide him over through November 6.

***On a side note, please try to go out and get involved, no matter what side of the political spectrum you fall on. This election matters, as the next President will essentially decide the fates of gay marriage (DOMA) and abortion (Roe v. Wade) by picking a new Supreme Court Justice, and the election could well determine our role in the Middle East as Iran and Israel push closer to war. I know I’m traveling up to Ohio with a group of friends to make my voice heard on Election Day, and I implore you to do something similar on your own.