In the spirit of presidential debate season, The Wagner Review and the Wagner Policy Alliance have agreed to a contest of their own. Prior to the first presidential debate, Associate Dean Fritzen posed the question below to both organizations. Both organizations have drafted an op-ed in response to the prompt. We now invite you to read the two pieces and vote for your favorite!

Being Presidential – What the Debates Don’t Tell Us about our Candidates - The Wagner Review

Rhetoric Requires Action – Wagner Policy Alliance

Rhetoric has been defined as “language that is elaborate, pretentious, insincere, or intellectually vacuous”; but in a long-standing tradition, rhetoric has also been understood to be “the art and study of using language effectively” (thefreedictionary.com). Assess the use of rhetoric by one or both sides in the presidential debate. How “effective” is it, specifically in terms of framing important issues in a way that can facilitate effective governance and problem-solving? What practical and feasible steps might you suggest to one or both sides to improve the state of our political rhetoric? You may wish to make particular reference to the debate on the state of the economy.

Voting is now closed.