Editorial - Don’t stop now
Published: Friday, October 5, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 5, 2012 08:10
Wednesday night, President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney went head-to-head in the first presidential debate of the 2012 election season.
An estimated 67 million tuned in to the debate, which was held in Denver. Compared to the first presidential debate in 2008, there was a 28 percent increase in viewership this year. These numbers are encouraging, as they signal an increasingly engaged public, and one that is more attentive to the political process than it has been in the past.
It’s also encouraging because the debate was much more policy-oriented than these debates typically are.
Critics of this style complained the debate was boring, but as the candidates argued about the Simpson-Bowles commission and the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill, viewer curiosity about these issues was piqued. According to data released by Google after the debate, these terms, along with Big Bird, were the most searched terms during the debate. Surely, an informed citizenry is worth a somewhat less conventionally exciting debate.
Although these signs are certainly positive, it’s important the public continues to pay attention.
The next important showdown will be the vice presidential debate, which takes place Thursday. After that, there will be two more presidential debates – one on Oct. 16 and another Oct. 22. With the advent of Internet live streaming, following these debates has become easier than ever, even for those who don’t have access to a television.
Moreover, social media has provided an unprecedented ability for citizens to participate in a lively discussion about the debates in real time. From live fact checkers to witty satirical commentary, there’s something for everyone on Twitter and Facebook during these events.
If you’re looking for a social atmosphere to watch the debate, check with the campus political organizations for details regarding watch parties. You can reach the College Republicans on Twitter @WVUCRs and the Young Democrats @WVUyoungdems.
The election is just a few short weeks away, so stay engaged. With a national debt in the trillions, a seemingly never-ending war in Afghanistan, a broken health care system and a persistently high unemployment rate topping a long list of problems our country is dealing with, it’s as important as it’s ever been for us to get it right in November.