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Great Arts at Eastern talks with Josh Bramlett about the art of rhetoric

This week on Great Arts at Eastern, Jeff Gentry talks with Josh Bramlett about the art of rhetoric.

Josh Bramlett, who has done research on political-election debates. The main question that he looks at is: Do these forums qualify as debates, or as some critics lodge, are they just joint press conferences?

Josh’s answer goes, “Right, that is the fundamental question that has never been truly resolved. And I would say it would be a blend of both.

I come from Carline school. I believe that she is my grandparent academically.

Voters do say that they get more information from presidential debates or from candidate debates then from any other single source. So what is the significance of the debates? “Well, debates are important because they inform voters about not only the current stances on issues but also about their image. The personal characteristics instilled during these two/three hours you get to see the candidates. You get to size up their various movements and personalities and so forth. And they are in an information-rich environment for political information. The base not only also inform voters on issues and candidates’ characteristics. They also persuade voters that they’re good for you. And they also influence us on the normative of political attitudes. These are things like political interests, Political efficacy, and a reduction in political cynicism. So those normative attitudes are to me what makes the debates the Broccoli of democracy.”

Josh’s headline of his research on the 2018 US Senate debate: “So, in my dissertation, I looked at US Senate debates. Because non-presidential debate or what I deemed Sub-presidential debates are severely understudied. There it’s actually in my research for my dissertation. I could only find one debate effect study that was not at the presidential level. That one was about the 2004 Senate campaign between Tom Dashiel and John Thune, who is currently the senator of South Dakota. That was the only one, There are other content and analyses which analyze the rhetoric and the style of candidates at the senate level often by Bill Benoit in and his team. And the same way Diana Carlin has a coaching tree, Bill Benoit has that, there is a lot of non-presidential content analysis. But not many on effects.”


Since Josh is a newcomer to New Mexico, he has plans to advance political speech here on the High Plains. “So, last year, while I was at the University of Missouri, I worked with some colleagues to put together a guide in hosting a political debate and forms. I am hoping to put that guide to use here at ENMU in 2020 by working on organizing a Federal, State, local debate or forum on campus. “

Josh Bramlett teaches political communication, public relations, and social media at Eastern New Mexico University. The Iowa Caucuses begin the 2020 campaign season in earnest on February 3.

All the Great Arts at Eastern are found at <enmu.edu/fineartsevents>, to learn more about this program at KENW.org.