Vice-Presidential candidates Debate: Who is better?

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Hersubeno Arief
Media and Political Consultant

IO – What were the most memorable ideas from Ma’ruf Amin and Sandiaga Uno at the Vice-Presidential candidates debate, Sunday March 17?

Most viewers might answer the card problem. Ma’ruf Amin shows three upcoming cards from Jokowi: pre-work card, college card and cheap food card.

Sandiaga Uno issued an e-KTP from his wallet. His actions were followed by his supporters. According to him, you don’t need a lot of cards. One primary card called e-KTP is enough. Simple. It is not complicated and it does not make the wallet thick and annoying.

According to its character, television is visual. What is seen, is far more imprinted in memory than what is heard. Especially in the social media era. It is very rare that an audience really focus in paying attention to the debate.

Most viewers are busy with gadgets and doing activities such as sending memes, video snippets, debating, and even commenting on various social medias throughout the debate. Only a few people who really focus and pay attention to the debate.

Many communication practitioners said that performance is far more important than mastering the material. More or less the portion is 70% to 30%. Therefore the debate on television can be called as a talk show.

The formula is to not only focus on content, but also perform a professional appearance. From physical appearance and how to behave throughout the course of debate.

In brief, the formula for winning a debate on television is three. Performance, performance, and performance. Appearance, appearance and appearance. This formula is important for examining the claims of two camps of supporters, especially supporters of Ma’ruf Amin, claiming that their champion won the debate.

A classical reference to see the impact of a debate on television and its influence on voter preference is the debate between Presidential candidate Richard Nixon against John F Kennedy. The second meeting took place on September 26, 1960. 59 years ago. This is the first time that public in United States could take part in a debate directly on television. Usually they take part in debates on the radio. The TV set is still black and white, witha very simple technology.

Nixon was a 47-year-old incumbent vice president. While Kennedy, the challenger was 4 years younger. As an incumbent, Nixon was clearly much more mature and experienced. Maybe because the workload made him look older and tired. He was also described as being present with clothes that did not fit. His body looked thin because he had to be hospitalized for two weeks for a knee injury.

On the contrary, Kennedy was known as a flamboyant senator. He had so many female fans. His appearance was very confident. Matching clothes, body fit with brown skin of exercise and sunburn. Plus a charming smile.

A number of polls concluded, when 70 million US voters listened to the debate on the radio, they favored Nixon. As an incumbent his mastery of material related to government was very strong.

The situation turned around when they watched on television. Kennedy is far more favored. The audience was enchanted by Kennedy’s appearance. Although Nixon knows more about the material but his weary face resulted the public shifting of support to Kennedy.

Kennedy won the Presidential election. At that time he was listed as the youngest US President in history. Camera magic, known as “camera is a magic” works perfectly.

The meeting between Ma’ruf and Sandi was almost exactly the same. The only difference is about vice-presidential candidates not a presidential.

Jokowi’s supporters considered Ma’ruf winning the debate because of his performance, especially in delivering his vision and mission, far exceeding expectations.

Ma’ruf performance last night was quite convincing. As an experienced preacher, he appears confident. As expected he also shown his aggressiveness against Sandiaga.

At the closing statement Ma’ruf swiftly vowed to fight slander and hoaxes. These two issues become the main weapons of candidate pair number 01 to attack candidate pair number 02.

Unfortunately, like Nixon, Ma’ruf appearance was far from great and not showing an energetic passion. His age, 76 years old, even much older than Nixon. At the beginning of debate Sandiaga congratulate Ma’ruf for his belated birthday on 11 March an, a reminders for the public that Ma’ruf is quite old.

Without being reminded, the public can also see for themselves. Ma’ruf face looks tired, walking very slowly. Even some viewers had the chance to capture an asymmetrical suit worn by Ma’ruf.

The stage format is different from the two previous debates. At each pause, candidates can sit. A chair is provided. Unlike previous debates, candidates have to stand while presenting their ideas throughout debate.

This format seems to be adjusted to accommodate Ma’ruf physical condition. Like Nixon, Ma’ruf suffered an injury to his leg due to a fall. Some say he fell in the bathroom. Ma’ruf even had to take a break and was banned from traveling for almost two months. Much longer than Nixon.

By chance, Sandiaga’s appearance reminded the public of Kennedy. With a slightly older age, Sandi’s appearance is also flamboyant. He also has many female fans. He has good physical fitness, always perform a daily running exercises Every around 10 km. In fact, he still had the time to play basketball with Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono before the preparation of debate.

In social media, some people even described this debate as “Senior versus Millennial. Past versus Future.”

More than a hundred million voters who last night watched the debate through a television can determine. The debate between Ma’ruf Amin vs Sandiaga Uno will be a historical record, how much television affects voters.

The debate between Nixon vs. Kennedy has proven it. A young, fit and handsome appearance defeated an old figure looking very wise yet tired.

Does the effect remain the same? Does the camera magic works perfectly again?