As Winston Churchill once said, you can always count on Americans to do the right thing, after they’ve tried everything else. When it comes to the 2016 presidential primary debates, Sir Winston seems to have nailed it. A review of presidential primary campaigns over the years might conclude that this one is simply more of the same. Political pros would argue that charades go with the territory. From flag-waving jingoism to public piety, the primaries’ zeal and rhetorical excess help candidates succeed. Not to worry, the conventional wisdom would say. Primaries inevitably differ from general elections where candidates must pitch a broad spectrum of voters rather than pander to their parties’ hardcore. Whether that will happen in 2016, however, remains to be seen. Given this year’s atmosphere, the narrative in both parties' primaries shouldn’t be written off as a passing phase. It could well define the presidential campaign.
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