As a Political Junkie, Please Stop the Debates

MILWAUKEE, WI — NOVEMBER 10: . (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

It took a lot of effort to avoid another Bernie Sanders related pun in my title. For lack of a better term, I am simply burned out by the constant debates that occur as a weekly event. And by the way the two democratic candidates took shots at each other on stage Wednesday night, they’ve been frayed by the constant fighting questioning the contests entail.

Last night’s contest was particularly brutal for both Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders. Hillary had done quite an amount of digging on her opponent and blasted him on deportation and bailout policies that were over a decade old. Sanders was able to rally enough energy and channel his frustration with Clinton to fend off her attacks. From the position of moral outrage, he kept attacking and questioning Clinton’s ties with Wall Street and conservative policies. The pretense of civility has left the respective campaigns completely, and the debates are showing it.

The debate context did not help the candidates either. Much of the debate was about immigration policy and reform, and was sponsored by Univision, a Spanish language broadcasting company, and had a very Spanish touch. Clearly designed to appeal to potential Latino voters, the Latino moderators and guest speakers forced a hard discussion on immigration. Both Clinton and Sanders were bombarded with questions about past deportation record and their future policies. Aggressive questioning seemed to put the candidates on edge, and both took very immigration friendly policies in a setting that hardly seemed to be in the United States. Although both candidates have been criticized for “Hispandering”, the debate format and questioning did not allow for much else.

While this style of verbal sparring would be far more interesting with the wall building, deportation happy Republicans, we have grown weary of their antics as well. Conservative debates are entertaining for the same reason reality TV is: guilty drama. Far more memorable for the insult of the week, I can remember very little actual political discussion coming from these contests, except requests to visit Ben Carson’s website. It is simply an attention machine inspired by the media, a political gladiator match, a blood sport for the American people to turn to at 8 O’clock Eastern.

Like a football game, there is a national anthem, frequent American flags, a bunch of egos trying to bruise each other, and a fair share of penalties. Unlike football, its appeal as fairly limited due to the fact that there are very few truly new events, and their are only teams, and they can’t (won’t?) trade any players. There’s no element of danger, as the hottest of issues (foreign policy, gun control, the environment) have mostly been avoided in favor of personal attacks. This holds true for both parties. Compared to the wrestling match that is a Republican Debate, the criticism of precedent and policy seems quite pleasant. But it’s the same criticism; once you’ve seen one democratic debate you’ve seen them all.

Quality, not quantity, please.

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Originally published at on March 12, 2016.

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