We are a few days shy from being exactly one year away from voting for our next president, and somehow, we’ve already had three Republican debates. How is this possible.
Even the average American who has a significant interest in politics is not going to be watching all of these debates, let alone the uniformed people who don’t put any thought into it until they walk into the voting booth.
It’s amazing that people are so obsessed with polls. There’s still so much time to go that it does not matter who is winning now. So many issues are going to come to light over the next 12 months that aren’t even being discussed yet.
For example, it took a school shooting to bring gun control to the forefront of these debates. At least for a few minutes. In the months to come, there will be more current events that stir conversation that will have a significant impact on next year’s election. So who cares right now?
That being said, if these candidates want to verbally duke it out on stage, no matter how far in advance of the vote, then we as a general public could benefit from hearing what they have to say. Even just a short snippet of a response to a baited question will give us some indication of what type of politician these candidates are.
But it’s up to us to make up our own minds. One person may love Ted Cruz. Another may hate him. The same goes for Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and all the other candidates who have been put before us.
And yet, minutes after these debates finish, the media takes it upon themselves to tell us who “won” and who “lost.” They decide who had the most defining moments, and who didn’t do a good job distinguishing themselves. And there’s no other room for interpretation.
To me, a successful debate includes people giving insightful, substantive responses to questions about important issues. I don’t care who “stole the spotlight” or who had the best quip. I don’t care if Chris Christie angrily dismissed the significance of fantasy football or if Ted Cruz ridiculed the debate moderators.
When the media declares a winner, it is demeaning and downright insulting, because it comes with the assumption that we as a collective can not make up our own minds. It also assumes that we didn’t watch the debate, and simply wanted to be told afterwards who was the most successful.
Simply knowing who was the winner means absolutely nothing if we don’t know what he or she actually said.
So my challenge to the media is to stop categorizing every debate candidate’s performance, and instead, give us some thoughtful analyses on what the candidates had to say on the important issues. And, for the love of god, refrain from using the words “winners” and “losers.”
In fact, instead of a televised debate, how about next time we have a candidate blog-off?
People would watch that, right?