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Presidential Debates and Deliberative Democracy
UF Law Faculty Publications
  • Charles W. Collier, University of Florida Levin College of Law
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Consider democracy in America through the lens of the presidential debates. It is not a pretty picture. From a high point in the nineteenth century (for example, the lengthy Lincoln-Douglas Senate campaign debates of 1858) a declining trajectory can be traced to the present day, with a marked acceleration in the Age of Television. To our polity's discredit, the presidential debate has long since ceased to be a dialogue that might shed light on the candidates' true powers of deliberation. The key to reversing this long decline, I believe, lies in an unlikely place: in the structural features of the legal trial.
Citation Information
Charles W. Collier, Presidential Debates and Deliberative Democracy, 117 Yale L.J. Pocket Part 288 (2008), available at