Presidential Debates: The problem no one talks about

Until something changes, nothing will get done.

November 1, 2019

A timeline describing previous elections and how they have changed throughout history.

Adviser’s Note: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this opinion article belong solely to the author and do not reflect the view of The Colt Chronicle Staff, Kinnelon High School, or its students and staff members. 

It was the usual buildup, but the same disappointment. When the third Democratic debate happened last week in Texas, viewers walked away knowing what the candidates’ screaming voices sounded like and not their views on immigration or foreign policy. 

Ever since the fiery, historic 2016 election this has been a constant theme, and a constant problem. While these debates have been constant since the 1960s, and are a staple of American politics, the only foreseeable solution to these problems is to get rid of the debates altogether.

This may seem controversial at first, but when one looks into the issue, they will see it is the only solution. 

The presidential debates have become obsolete and unimportant. As is evident, they are screaming matches instead of structured, formal discussions. The only way to prevent these time wasters is by getting rid of them altogether.

It’s not like there isn’t a solution either. For a long time, the candidates have been campaigning across the country in order to get their views across. In addition to this, since the start of the 2016 campaign, major networks have invited the various candidates to do one-on-one interviews only focusing on their views and opinions. These have been popular among both the candidates and the public; thus, along with the candidates campaigning, the void of not having any debates could easily be filled. 

Another aspect of the presidential debates that needs to be improved is the logistic nightmare that it causes to the venue. Is the amount of security, money, and time that goes into preparing these debates really worth the three hours of comedy that they end up being? In addition, having all the candidates and a major news network present in the same room poses a huge target for terrorists. We are lucky that what happened to Robert Kennedy has not happened in over 30 years. This threat is a ticking time bomb, and when it goes off, it could easily become one of the worst days in American history. 

Another issue with the Democratic political process is the potentially inevitable fact that most of these campaigns (whether it is a race to the White House or junior year class vice president) very quickly turn into popularity contests. 

This is less of an issue in schools, as the student council does nothing in the first place, but is a huge problem in the presidential campaigns. For example, outside of the Tri-state area, how many people have heard of Bill de Blasio? How about Nancy Pelosi? One is miles ahead of the other in prominence. This issue could lead to a voter or a group of people voting for the more popular candidate and not the candidate whose policies would be best for them and their families. Although there is no obvious solution to this problem, eliminating debates would help in the short term. 

Debates have always been a part of American politics. However, for the matter of safety and efficiency, they need to go and be replaced by town halls and rallies. 



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