Tuesday, September 27, 2016

My (Mostly) Unbiased Thoughts On Last Night's First "Presidential" Debate

Photos: BU Rob13/Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons

Disclaimer: No, I'm not unbiased. Is anyone unbiased anymore? Obviously the media isn't, and if there is anyone out there who SHOULD be unbiased, it's them. Regardless, yes, I know who I'm voting for. But in this article I'm going to attempt to stay as unbiased as possible, while giving some advice to both candidates.
 
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After the debate last night, we were all inundated by various news outlets and commentators telling us who they believed "won" the battle. For the most part, the mainstream media commentators said they believed Clinton had won. Although interestingly enough, the majority of the somewhat credible polls showed Trump as the winner. No matter what the polls said though, I know that I and many others have completely lost faith in the polls since it seems that almost every aspect of this election is rigged by the biased media.

At this point in the campaign, the majority of the country has already decided who they are voting for. What I find incredible, is that more-so than any other election I can remember in my lifetime, the supporters of each candidate refuse to be swayed by anything that is said or done. It doesn't matter how illegal or how unacceptable it might be. If something negative is said about their candidate of choice, it is quickly brushed off as nothing more than a bold-faced lie, fabricated by the other side, with the sole purpose of damaging their reputation.

My point here is that I believe it would take something absolutely damning happening live on that
debate stage to sway any of the voters who have already made up their minds. Anything short of Clinton having a seizure, or Trump dropping his pants to prove that his hands are the only thing that is below average in size, probably isn't going to do a bit of good in convincing people to vote for the other candidate. And even though Gary Johnson is not being given the opportunity to debate Clinton and Trump, his supporters are also unlikely to decide to support either of the other candidates, no matter what is said or done.

Since the likelihood of swaying the decided voters is pretty slim, both candidates need to focus on winning the support of the 3-10% of voters who are undecided. They need to look at the reasons why these undecided voters have, up until this point, refused to support either Trump or Clinton.

In the next debate, both candidates have to work hard to find a good balance between being likable and having the strength and stamina needed to run our country without letting other world leaders walk all over them. They need to focus not just on their opponent's downfalls, but more importantly, on their own personal strengths and accomplishments. And for God's sake, please stick to facts rather than lying to us and thinking we are too stupid to fact check you!

The uncomfortable truth here, is that none of us like either of you. Quit rolling your eyes, quit interrupting just to say "wrong", and quit looking down your nose at us like the condescending assholes that you both probably are. But, if your opponent has legitimately broken the law, feel free to bring it to light. Whether it's shady business dealings and not paying taxes, or mishandling classified information and lying under oath, the public needs to know. If you bring it up though, you better be prepared to show us facts.

Finally, some thoughts on how the debate is moderated. This entire election has been handled so
unfairly. Everyone is biased and they let that personal bias show in how news is reported, as well as how debates are moderated. So every effort needs to be made to ensure that the moderation of the debate is above reproach. I think the best and easiest way to do this is to proactively provide two moderators; one who sides with each candidate. Perhaps even provide a real person on stage for each side to fact check what is said, rather than waiting until after the debate for each side to provide their biased fact checked list of lies from their opponent. Ideally, this would reduce the likelihood of the candidates thinking they could lie and get away with it. Of course, this will take more time, so 90 minutes probably won't be enough for the debate.

If the moderator is going to call out one candidate for what he believes to be untrue, that same moderator needs to be prepared to do the same for the other candidate. If you're going to ask Trump questions that insinuate he is a racist bigot, or bring up the birther issue, you need to ask equally tough questions of Clinton, such as questioning her about her private email server, or Benghazi, or the Clinton Foundation. This does not just put that candidate in the hot seat. It also gives them the opportunity to defend themselves to the American public. And when one person is responding, or the other person's time is up, kill their mic immediately until it is their turn to speak again!

The reality here is that this presidential election is nothing more than a game of political Russian roulette. But one gun has an extra bullet in it. By casting your vote, you are doing nothing more than choosing which gun to pick up before giving it a spin, holding it to your head and pulling the trigger.

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