Voters Should Not Rely On Presidential Debates

Yeary writes about how debates have become divisive and provide no real information to potential voters.

Photo by Anthony Garand on Unspalsh

Yeary writes about how debates have become divisive and provide no real information to potential voters.

Since Abraham Lincoln’s campaign for president, debates have taken place for voters to become informed of the candidates and what they stand for. Since then, the debates have become a series of personal attacks and a he-said-she-said battle. This results in the frustration of viewers and the lack of important information passed on to the country. In a world of mainstream media, presidential debates offer a unique opportunity for candidates to establish their points on live-stream to a mass audience without the spin of the media. 

Multiple news stations cover the event and that helps deliver the message to a wider audience. However, this also means that prior to the debates, the station had access to people’s attention where they could predict the debates and take their stance. By the time the debates begin, and people inevitably turn the channel, people have not heard what the candidates have to say but instead the propaganda fed to them through the media. Opinions were formed before the debates begin and when the candidates do not prioritize their political agendas over their lame attempts to make themselves look better than their opponent, it only creates more of a reason to remain constant with what they have believed all along. 

As the debates continue and the candidates get more and more concerned about personal attacks on one another, the audience becomes more annoyed with party politics and defensive of their own party. While undecided voters are the primary audience in order to sway their decision, the debates only polarized the political parties more. Before the debates had a chance to start, most voters already supported one candidate and would side with them no matter what was said. On the other hand, those that were undecided were pushed away from either candidate because of the unprofessionalism they both displayed. Regardless of the outcome of the debates, there was no way their performance would have changed the opinions of voters. 

The actions shown by the candidates proved to the audience politics no longer prioritizes the policy a candidate endorses or a person’s personal beliefs but more so who can get the most amount of shade thrown at them in a short amount of time. The childish antics push people away from politics and have promoted more people to vote for the wrong reasons. Because we focus our sights on the bad actions or remarks they have made, we do not see the action items on their agendas. The personal attacks do not come from a place of truth but rather a place of hatred because of one’s political identity, politics faces a huge downfall because of this and will see many not vote at all because of the split between the parties. The political split in the country, and the lack of leadership through example, has guided people into a loss of appeal to become involved in politics and will leave the country worse off in the long run. 

Overall, the American people should focus on the policies promised by each candidate and try to overlook the performance given in the debates. The debates offered little to no real information to guide voters, and audiences overlooked anything with substance as they were drawn to the personal attacks on each other, therefore we should not use the debates as a sole deciding factor but instead rely on our own research of the candidates prior to the election.