The UTM Debating Club collaborated with UTMSU to air the final American presidential debate on US foreign policy last Tuesday.
The screening was followed by an analysis of the debate by UTM political science professors. Afterwards, the floor was opened to the attendees to discuss the debate and its implications.
The atmosphere of the final debate was not one of intense competition.
“[There was] lots of agreement, not the competitive fuelling. Almost like two candidates from the same party, because it was so centralist,” said Professor Justin Bumgardner.
Because of this, the analysis and discussion primarily focussed on the rhetorical strategies Obama and Romney employed, and why they were particularly important.
The CNN electoral map was displayed during the discussion; it showed that Romney and Obama were close in the polls. It appears that voters are on the fence or are disillusioned with their party.
The swing vote is of crucial importance for both candidates; perhaps this was why Romney and Obama tailored their performance to appeal to the undecided voters.
The professors said the debate was only superficially about U.S. foreign policy. They agreed that redirecting the issues on the agenda to what the candidates saw as pressing concerns of the American public, such as the financial crisis and the U.S.’s stance as a superpower, was a tactic to appeal to the swing vote.
Thus, although the content of the debate may have seemed somewhat irrelevant to the agenda, the way they treated it was crucial to the outcome of the election.
The UTM Debating Club and UTMSU will air the election day proceedings live at the Blind Duck on November 6.