Why Presidential Debates Make Us Dumber

Over on the Acton Institute’s Powerblog, I explain why presidential debates make us dumber:

This is why presidential debates are designed, albeit unintentionally, to make us dumber. Candidates are expected to take maddeningly complex subjects, fairly present their opponent’s position and explain how their position differs all in 2 minutes or less. While such a task is clearly impossible, to even make an attempt requires stripping all relevant context from consideration. A “low-information voter”—who by definition is already unaware of the relevant political context—that watches a debate comes away, as Dylan noted, with less factual information than they stated with. They are, in a very literal sense, made dumber by watching the debate.

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