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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Columns

Election hangs on deceptive disputes


Last week marked the end of the first cycle of presidential debates before the November election.

The results were widely broadcasted with the first debate, creating a new and more energetic Republican candidate Mitt Romney while President Barack Obama fell asleep; the second debate and a rowdy Vice President Joe Biden brought Paul Ryan’s financial plans into question, ending the week’s string of interruptions between the president and his Republican challenger.

Regardless of the actual results, each news outlet was being skewed in its own ways. Democrats were quick to consolidate the outcome of the first debate, where even former presidential nominee Al Gore speculated it was the social climate that caused Obama’s poor performance, while conservative news corporation Fox News took to demonizing the vice president for performing in the same way they venerated Romney in the first debate.

Regardless of what is said in the debate and the actual outcomes, Republicans are going to vote for Romney and Democrats are going to vote for Obama. The outliers will probably not vote or throw their ballots away on a third-party candidate.

These debates are superfluous in the remains of an outdated system. Presidential debates have existed for as long as presidential elections; they were meant to bring the candidates’ stances to the public and sway voters before going to the polls in November.

In an age with countless televised news stations and newspapers for every city and town, it’s ridiculous that people have to rely on the debates to sway undecided voters.

The elections begin in less than a month. And despite many people’s disillusionment with the Obama administration and promises of change in the wake of our financial catastrophe, if undecided voters are still not informed on the candidates’ policies, it would be in society’s self-interest for them to just not vote.

The presidential debates as they stand do not provide either a comprehensive policy or the entire truth. Just check politifact.com after the debate, and the most a reader can hope for is to see a candidate say something deemed by trained journalists and analysts that a statement is mostly true.

These debates become memorization contests between the candidates where they avoid questions they’re uncomfortable with or not prepared for.

Politicians — especially presidents — are not solely made up of their own policies and viewpoints. They consult with experts, have numerous fact-checkers for the maddening amount of stances they have to cover and these debates deliver only a fraction of it.

The way eligible voter polls swing following a debate is horrifying. These things should serve no greater purpose than seeing the nominees face off and the pride that comes with the crowd cheering once a candidate gets called out for lying.

It is a system that should not be used for more than the spectacle it is and not generate an ill-informed electorate.

Patrick Larose is a creative writing sophomore and may be reached at [email protected]

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