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The Discipline’s Debate Contributions: Then, Now, and Next



After arguing that our disciplinary origins and aptitudes equip us to understand the practice and potential of political debate, this essay will synthesize briefly some of the contributions our scholarship has made to understanding televised presidential debates, telegraph some major findings about three topics—learning from debates, factors that mediate audience response, and the ways in which candidate debate communication forecasts the presidency of the eventual winner—and will then note questions about each of these three areas that invite additional inquiry.