The occasion of the election is an opportunity to reflect on the larger implications of illusionism.
Each candidate is carefully crafting an image and doing what they can to control the imagery so that it supports that image.
One great way to get beneath the controlled surface is to watch the debates in slow motion. Without the words to distract you, slow motion offers a chance to see what might be creating the hunches about candidates, where something makes you uncomfortable but you can't put your finger on it. Paul Eckman, worldwide expert on facial expressions, calls the transitional expressions that we don't consciously register microexpressions. Though candidates can rehearse and control their face to some degree, there's leakage of true attitudes, contempt or uncertainty or grievance, that are never picked up a regular speed, but can be very revealing in slow motion. We understand facial expression through an inner mimicry that connects it to how we feel when we look like that. When candidates close their eyes we feel the inner withdrawal from the situation and what they're saying.
Obviously it would take a long time to watch the whole debate this way, but if you zero in on the times that have the most expressive interaction, you'll find expressions that weren't so obvious, but were part of how they were responding to the situation. It's a way to get to your deeper reactions and get past the hype and illusion.
As a by-product, you'll have a better sense of how the particular network is trying to slant your reaction. Where the camara is pointing up at someone, where down, how much time it spends on one candidates face, how the set influences unconscious attitudes, are all part of a sophisticated understanding of how to manipulate the viewer. You don't have to be controlled like that. Hunt for the microexpressions to enlarge your visual understanding.