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Local political science experts weigh in on the Presidential debate

Photo: MGN
Photo: MGN(KSFY)
Published: Sep. 27, 2016 at 7:07 PM EDT
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News 12 First at Five / Sept. 27, 2016

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- When it came the first presidential debate, two local political science professors said the candidates said a lot, without getting very deep into these issues.

According to Nielson's numbers, this was one of the most watched political debates ever.

Both Dr. Craig Albert and Dr. Steve Millies said there's no real winner, and the spectacle itself is overriding the issues.

They say those already siding with a candidate will most likely stick to their decision, but grabbing those undecided voters did not work, normally the traditional point to these debates.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton discussed important topics for our area: cyber security and terrorism, job growth, and race relations.

"The discussion of race isn't going to go down as a great episode in American history, not least because of the discussion of stop and frisk," said Dr. Millies, a USC Aiken Associate Political Science Professor.

"When you're talking about race relations and you're already polling at less than 5 percent for minority groups, like Donald Trump is, you don't want to say that you're going to support a policy that that community sees as unfairly discriminating against them," said Dr. Albert, an Augusta University Political Science Professor.

Albert and Millies say cyber, a complicated enough issue, is difficult to talk about in a debate format.

"It was clear Donald Trump hadn't thought all that much about it. We're looking ahead to a 21st century of where the real threats are going to be real," said Millies.

"As far as cyber terrorism and international security, we did not get much out of them - the foreign policy aspects were very light very minor," said Albert.

Both say, in a sense, there wasn't a clear winner.

"I think the winner by all traditional measure was Hillary Clinton but it's more complicated than that because I think Trump dominated the first 30-40 minutes," said Albert.

"There's always been an element of spectacle in political debate, and debaters have always played to the crowd and that matters, but what I would rather try to do in this case is try to be a voice of hey, let's listen to what they're saying - let's try to think about how the American people can win," said Millies.