Iowa State professor says debates pit policy vs. reality TV drama

Ben Crosby believes Donald Trump needed to adhere to typical rules for political debates. | File photo
Ben Crosby, an associate professor of English and speech communication at Iowa State University, recently stated that Hillary Clinton’s policies and deliberate approach may not be a traditional advantage of Donald Trump’s untraditional approach.

Crosby said Clinton has experience, is driven in her policies, is able to defend her positions, and practices a temperament that many would say is ideal for debates. However, this year’s presidential election has been anything but typical.

“Clinton has the policy advantage, but Trump has the reality show advantage,” Crosby said. “Trump is a wild card and American politics are a wild card because of the reality show quality, so in that sense Trump has the advantage. It’s going to be interesting to see these two paradigms clash.”

Because of this “wild card” factor, Crosby believes that Clinton had even more pressure to be successful during the first debate. Audiences wantedto see her make pointed stands.

Crosby also believes that Trump needed to adhere to typical rules for political debates, which puts another unique pressure on him.

“No one expects him to be Cicero,” Crosby said. “For political debates, as long as your opponent doesn’t land any mortal blows, you’re fine. You don’t have to win so much as you just need to avoid losing.”

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