I’m Sitting Out This Debate

Political junkie confession time: I have no interest in watching the debate this evening.

This primary season has been utterly disheartening, as has the political environment in general over the last 3 (or more!) years.

The debates are promoted like sporting events, with splashy graphics and pre- and post-game analysis, because apparently someone has determined that sports is the only thing that Americans can understand. The moderators and the networks are more interested in ratings than they are in helping voters understand the issues. Honestly, how much has anyone learned about any of the candidates in the previous two events? Close to absolute zero, I’d estimate.

The debate questions are stupid and irrelevant: it’s impossible to answer a question about a complex topic in 90 seconds. (But 30 seconds to rebut! Well, that’s going to make all the difference, isn’t it?) And what difference does it make what a candidate’s specific policy is anyways? (“Read my detailed plan on my website!” Thank you, no.) Even without a divided government, there’s no way that their plan is going to pass Congress unchanged anyways. For proof of that, one need look no farther than Obama’s success in passing universal health care. What eventually passed bore absolutely no resemblance to what he started with. So why are we forcing candidates to criticize one another’s plans at this stage in the process? In the long run, all we’re doing is giving talking points to Trump’s team.

Likewise, these gotcha moments between the candidates where they try to make waves by dredging up the past and flinging mud on one another’s voting records or past behavior: again, it only serves to supply fodder for Republican campaign ads next November, regardless of who the eventual nominee is.

I guess we’re supposed to come away with an idea of how “likable” the candidates are. Are they tough enough? Can they hold their own? Can we relate to them? Is this any way to choose the next Leader of the Free World? I can answer that question in two words: Donald Trump. (Although I suppose after these last two years, the President of the United States can’t really claim the title of Leader of the Free World any more.

Anyway, come tomorrow, we’ll get the same nonsense that we get every day-after: Headlines proclaiming “Winners and Losers in Last Night’s Debate” which in reality is nothing more than spin — every camp telling us that their candidate won: had a good grasp of the facts; held just the right position on that important issue; scored points against the others; appeared confident and presidential. As though any of that matters against an opponent who will lie, bully, and cheat, has no actual understanding of any of the issues, and is decidedly unpresidential.

Oh, I could go on, but I won’t. Frankly, if I could, I’d like to skip the whole process. I just can’t take any more of it. Wake me up next November and let me know what happened.

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