One can only hope that the pre-debate anticipation and “analysis” of the coming “zinger”fest will to some extent inoculate the public to this pernicious category of debate scoring.
Let me thump bravely forth across the landscape and make the same incorrect prediction I made about the conventions: That they won’t matter. That they are content-free propaganda displays that don’t clarify anything we didn’t already know. I was wrong about the conventions because the GOP chose to showcase its campaign startegy in a stunningly dishonest speech by Paul Ryan, but the public didn’t buy it. Then the Democrats replied with Clinton’s epic takedown of Ryan, and the public did.
But here we are hard upon the “debates”, and all anyone is anticipating is who will get in the best “zingers”. In terms of actual “answers” all anybody wants to know is who will be nimbler at avoiding them. Do we ENJOY revelling in our shallowness as a democracy? Hey, did you hear the one about the people who treated their election campaigns like a sporting event?? THEY LOST! Oooooooooh! ZING!