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It is time to break down the tent and end the circus that is televised presidential debates

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Illustration by: Birmy Michelle | Staff Illustrator

Let’s face it, this year’s presidential elections are basically just a TV show, with eerily similar qualities to a dystopian teen novel.

The candidates and the press coverage have exacerbated this reality show. One man has spearheaded this effort and acted as the ringleader. Donald Trump has insulted pretty much everyone in the book and since this is so entertaining to watch the press covers him, which only adds fuel to the flame.

Because of this nonsense the practice of televising debates needs to end. Debates only give candidates the chance to express nonsense, which is entertaining and drowns out any sense of reason.

For example, presidential candidate John Kasich has only recently seen his polling numbers rise. Enough people have dropped out to provide him a voice, but

he has continually been underreported by major news networks, which has hurt his campaign. The reason behind this is that Kasich relies on substance. Unlike other candidates, he does not comment about the size of his hands or any other part of his body.

Debates also create the situation where someone who is not a performer could come across as losing, even though they could be the best candidate. Basically, in debates you have to use a certain set of performance abilities, which may or may not prove your readiness to become president.

Plenty of people can perform well in debates, but they still may not be qualified to become president. Furthermore, candidates might overstep their time in the midst of a debate but you will rarely see any actual enforcement of the rules by the moderators.

Moderators will just say “Mr. Trump” or “Mr. Cruz” repeatedly until they eventually run out of breath. The reason for this is simple: if the candidates keep talking then it is more exciting, thus better ratings.

The lack of enforcement by moderators only rewards those who break debate rules, leaving good candidates by the wayside. Social media and town halls are ways to get policies out to the public, eliminating the need for televised debates.

The current election cycle saw a large field of republican candidates, which resulted in more people on the debate stage than usual. When there are so many egotistical people vying for precious airtime, debates devolve quickly. The American public was subjected to the whining of candidates who didn’t get enough time to speak at the debate.

Their objections were perfectly valid because a debate is for actually debating, but complaining only took away from the candidates’ time to speak. Unless we cap the amount of candidates on the stage to three or five people, debates become meaningless.

Televised debates serve one purpose, and it is to create content to report on. They no longer serve the purpose of informing people on the issues and the opinions of the candidates. It is time we seriously re-evaluate debate rules and how we cover candidates in general. The real issues need to matter once again.