Are rules for debate even considered anymore? The past three debates on the Republican side have been filled with outrageous candidate-on-candidate attacks, hilarious screenshot-worthy Trump faces and outlandish, straight-up lies from the likes of Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson. All these happenings are pretty telling of the Republican Party at this stage in the presidential race, but while watching these entertaining debates, what has America really learned about the candidates? Not much, considering the answers given by the candidates at the debates and their tendency to deliver generic jargon that almost answers the question, but mostly just switches the subject to what they plan to do if they claim the White House. Yet the Republicans are somehow still unhappy with debate rules, and are banding together to make a change.
Carly Fiorina, according to NPR, spoke the most in the Oct. 28 debate, and Ben Carson isn’t happy about it. MSNBC highlights the fact that Carson’s campaign team is taking the wheel in advocating for a change in the debate rules, claiming to want longer opening and closing statements, along with better-enforced time limits. There’s a couple of things wrong with those requests. However, the issue is not only what the candidates are asking for, but why they’re asking for them.
Consider the fact that we are now four debates in with the Republicans. Do we need another minute of introduction to the candidates? Because I think we know who they are. Longer statements open the door for the same old spiel about their conservative, God-first family values that get their main vein of support all hot and bothered. Longer statements close the door a little more on the chance to ask some tough questions and get real answers. As for the strictly-enforced time cutoffs for replies, it makes sense in theory. But it’s common knowledge, and also pointed out by Carson’s opponent Chris Christie, that, essentially, if you can’t take the heat then get out of the kitchen. Carson’s lack of political experience is showing with this one, and like Fiorina or not, if you can speak longer and command attention, so be it. The neurosurgeon being bitter about speaking less than others may be a tell tale sign that he needs to up his debate game. However, I think it’s time the tougher questions are asked, and the more honest and direct answers are given.
Republicans are not answering with facts that are new to anyone. (Some of the newest things heard on that stage were very close to lies from Fiorina about Planned Parenthood, just as if they were pulled from thin air.) If you’re asked about the economy and your plans to keep it growing, I honestly don’t want to hear about how you voted against something Obama laid out. I get that you are playing to your base, but you can’t win on just them. Hasn’t your campaign team told you that? You need to be a good sell to your big supports, but you should probably be generally informative. I thought they would remember that going into a live, national debate.
The Republicans have it pretty good, I’d say, considering the questions they’ve gotten. There hasn’t been much coverage of climate change or gun control, which makes sense since most people can guess what they’d say. However, what about the people who don’t know? The young people, the new voters: don’t they deserve a right to know each candidates’ full stance on the issues? Just because it may not be efficient to have ten candidates answering with the same opinion doesn’t make it any less informative to the public. And who knows, one of the candidates may have juicy, little known facts about another candidate’s past voting pattern with a subject.
Basically, the Republicans are complaining because they want more time to air their very generalized platforms for when they get into the White House, and are scared to answer tough questions that may or may not be brought to them. To that I ask, shouldn’t you be willing to answer the tough questions in preparation for going against the big bad Democrats? And shouldn’t you be brave and mighty, willing to answer tough questions on abortion and climate change because you have God by your side, and conviction in your heart? Instead you candidates are vying for more time to give completely scripted little speeches to rile up your base. It’s 2015, you should probably be a little more open to questions.
We, as a voting population, need to stay up to date with debate rules, because they do make an impact. The candidates coming together to request radical changes is another sign of the GOP madness that’s tearing apart the seams of the party. If they saw this, wouldn’t they be pushing for a transformation into the new age and pushing for the younger and minority vote, instead of focusing on their conservative base? I find no logic in their current arguments. Instead of using press and campaign time to debate the debates, why not instead add new and different issues to your own platform to use in the next one? We’re tired of hearing the same story about how you voted for that one thing that one time.