If you didn’t watch the second presidential debate, you’re not alone. Like many students, I spent my Sunday attending to my daily duties. As a political science nerd, this meant canvassing for local candidates and initiatives (yes, I’m that guy who bothers you at your door) and reading for my political theory class. And sadly, the burning urge to turn on my television that I usually feel during an important political event was absent, as it was during the first presidential debate. Though this election season has certainly produced plenty of entertainment value for those who are seeking it, I feel fairly safe in saying it has done very little to inspire vigorous political enthusiasm — as the primaries did — and even less to bring to light the serious economic, social and international issues presidential candidates should be focused on in an election year.
So when I woke up Monday morning and succumbed to the “US Presidential Debate” banner on my Snapchat feed, the recap told me exactly what I needed to know. Insult followed by insult, scandal followed by scandal and a general lack of care for anything resembling policy were the “highlights” of the debate. Though I expected nothing more, it was still a bit of a shock after a night of reading from the sobering and inspiring discourses of political theorist Jean-Jacques Rousseau, whose remarks on the importance of responsible leadership and honest democracy were in stark contrast to to the candidates’ question-dodging and almost Jerry Springer-esque trade-offs. It is truly a scary thought that the presidential election in the most powerful country in the history of mankind is slowly looking more and more like a game show (and being treated by many viewers as such.)
This business “mogul” does not care at all for the people of the United States of America; the people he has consistently exploited throughout his life.
But the far scarier thought is that a large portion of the American population actually believes this political climate is the result of two candidates’ shortcomings. Many voters are even citing displeasure at both candidates as a reason not to vote at all. So let me be absolutely clear: Since the end of the primary season, almost all presidential talk has been plagued by the reality that there is only one remaining candidate who is actually knowledgeable enough to engage in meaningful political discussion. Love her or not, Hillary Clinton is that candidate.
Her opponent — whose name I will not include because I do not believe it deserves to be mentioned in a politics column — has ridden a wave of media sensationalism and capitalized on the subtle but consistent white supremacist undertones that have finally threatened to crumble the Republican Party. His financial recklessness and ability to manipulate the less wealthy and less informed may have served him well as he toppled countless small businesses and completely destroyed an entire city’s economy, and it even served him well in gaining the republican nomination. But now that he is in a position that gives him the possibility of becoming the most powerful political figure on the planet, a more diverse and hopefully more politically rational group of voters must realize these qualities will not serve him — or the majority of Americans — well if he is elected to the presidency.
This business “mogul” does not care at all for the people of the United States of America; the people he has consistently exploited throughout his life. His only motive is self-interest, and he believes he can con a nation into believing in him. In order to do this, however, he must shape the political climate to his advantage. This is what we are seeing now, and it is no coincidence Hillary Clinton has been forced to adopt a less policy-driven message in these first two debates than the one she used against Bernie Sanders in a heated but healthy democratic primary.
…this frustration may be a reason to tune out television media for a few weeks, but it is not a reason to avoid the polls on election day.
To defeat Clinton, the republican candidate’s strategy must be based entirely on avoiding issues he knows far too little about and inflating scandals — regardless of which side they originate on — that will keep discussions away from policy specifics for as long as possible. This is why he manages to get away with what would, for other politicians, be political suicide.
The recent “locker room” bus tape is just one example of this. The fact that a presidential candidate is still considered to be viable after such an obvious reveal of his numerous and severe character flaws is astounding. But it is a direct result of his conditioning of the public; his supporters, and even some undecided voters, have become so accustomed to accepting vice and malice disguised as “political incorrectness” that they hardly bat an eye when a presidential hopeful actually admits to committing sexual assault and tax evasion in the middle of debate season. He has pulled the wool over the eyes of many Americans for good and has dragged his opponent into a scandal-ridden race.
So if you too are a politically minded individual who is fed up with the state of an increasingly frustration-inducing race, remember this frustration may be a reason to tune out television media for a few weeks, but it is not a reason to avoid the polls on election day. The awful political climate Americans are currently dealing with is the fault of one candidate, and we must keep him from holding any more power than he already has.
No matter how disgusted you are with this election cycle, Dylan Parisi reminds you to still go out and vote.