Democratic Primary Debate Succeeds at Nothing

For anyone who missed the Oct. 15 Democratic presidential primary debate, don’t worry. You didn’t miss much. In fact, with still over a year until the next presidential election, it shouldn’t have happened at all. But here’s a quick rundown anyway:

Ten candidates took the stage for a debate co-hosted by CNN and the New York Times and sensationalized in its advertisements like a WWE match. In the center was Joe Biden, and on the ends were candidates like Julian Castro and… well, I would list all the candidates, but that would take too much space. 

Much like other debates, they volleyed for hours on topics like healthcare and impeachment and friendship, but no one got enough time to expand their ideas. In the end, potential voters were either confused or unchanged in their decision. That’s all. 

My frustrations don’t begin or end with this debate, but it stands out as an example of the abysmal American election cycle. The idea that ten presidential candidates on one stage splitting atoms between their similar policies could be productive in any manner is ludicrous.

Warren spent an inordinate amount of time defending whether this socialized healthcare plan or the next will raise taxes. Tom Steyer only spoke for seven minutes, and who is Tom Steyer? And Kamala Harris responded to a question on universal healthcare costs with…access to reproductive healthcare–one of many pitiful attempts to edge out other candidates in the brawl. 

What is all this for? To win votes, sure, but no one is winning any more votes in such a rehashed conversation where questions include friendship but not climate change. In addition, there is no use for such a debate months before the primaries and over a year before the presidential election. 

Debates are a popular way to decide how to vote, but this latest and certainly not last debate is just not the way to go. 

Andrew Yang said it best: “And if you don’t feel like…you got your question answered tonight, it’s understandable. There are 12 of us.”

Sensationalized, unproductive early debates overrun with candidates vying for attention are just one symptom of a broken American election system. 

We need effective, productive, factual delivery of candidate’s platforms and healthy facilitated discussion, but we don’t need CNN’s deep-voiced commercial announcer giving us yet another bogus debate WWE style. 

About Author

Nienke Onneweer is the Copy Editor and Layout Editor for the Mesa Legend. She joined in August 2019 and has been publishing articles since January 2019. She has been writing since childhood, and her favorite punctuation is the em dash. Find her on Twitter @thenienke.