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The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Cross Currents: Will final debate matter to undecided voters?

The Channels Opinion Page | CROSS CURRENTS
Alloy Zarate
Illustration by Alloy Zarate, 2020

Debates were designed to give party candidates the opportunity to argue about important issues in the country or the philosophy of running a government. Today, it’s more about influence than it is about the validity of ideas. Some wonder if we should even have debates, and if they just mislead people, becoming more of a tool for distraction than collaboration. This week, two Channels staff writers argue over whether debates still have value or if they do more harm than good.


Jacob Frank, Opinion Editor

Although it may seem like there is no hope for our country, or for any proper legislative debate, one thing is for certain: The debates show us exactly what we do not want in a presidential candidate.

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People get to see a glimpse of how that person holds themselves in an argument, an incredibly frequent dynamic of governance and international relations.

What we see from President Trump is that he can’t, and what people may have seen from Senator Biden is that he can’t rival his aggressive opponent. 

The same is true of Vice President Mike Pence, having followed Trump’s suit in talking for much longer and uncalled-for lengths. Senator Kamala Harris seemed to be the only one who remained strong and composed in her arguments and dignity. 

It’s hard to get a sense of a candidate beyond what is seen in the news and what they spout off during rallies. The debate can feel like you’re having the conversation with the leaders yourself. 

It goes beyond words and propaganda.

A majority of understanding when someone lies is in reading their body language and judging their character.

Getting a feel for their personality is important because it is rare when leaders reveal how they truly feel about policies or what specific actions they will take in office.

Nevertheless, bearing through debates and reading between the lines will show the gist of their positions. On top of that, candidates make promises today that we need to hold them accountable for in the future.

The amount of value that someone gets out of the debate depends on how deep they dig and how attentively they listen.

The upcoming election is still a very serious issue, even if it seems like some reality show that can’t be taken seriously. The decision of the presidency will affect millions of lives in a very direct and indirect way.

Although a fly on Pence’s head is absurd and hilarious, it has nothing to do with how he will contribute to dramatically changing peoples’ way of life.

There is still value in negative things, even if they outweigh the positives. These debates may never be what they once were or could be, but we need to get everything that we can out of them, revolutionize them or get rid of them altogether.

Dylan Grausz, Staff Editor

Debates are meant to inform the people of how each presidential candidate will approach their presidency and to give clarity on their motives. But as we have seen in the recent debates, it has looked more like a reality show than a presidential debate.

The 2020 presidential debate was a complete trainwreck and watching it made it hard to take the upcoming election seriously. 

“Are those two candidates really our choices?” is not a question someone should be thinking after a debate.

A debate should leave us feeling comfortable with at least one of the candidates, not leave us  feeling like we are doomed.

Watching Donald Trump and Joe Biden cut each other off constantly while the moderator was being treated like a substitute teacher the whole time felt more like watching a Saturday Night Live skit.

The “facts” presented by both candidates about topics such as COVID-19 were not completely accurate. Misleading people in the hopes of getting votes is not what leaders should do. 

In the vice-presidential debate, people were more interested in the fly that was on Mike Pence’s head than what he was actually saying. There is no point in televising a debate if people will not be getting the correct facts, and if there is no interest.

The reality is that people should be watching a debate where each candidate gives information that is accurate and informative. 

The 2020 debates are supposed to be the most important debates in recent memory. This election will shape our country.

With everything going on, leadership is important now more than ever. How are we supposed to form an opinion on our leaders if all we see on TV is two old white men interrupting each other and acting like children?

People could spend their time doing other more productive things. If the debates are so important, this country needs a reform on how they are conducted. Americans have the right to live in a country run by someone that they trust. Watching televised debates just causes chaos and disruption to an already fragile society.


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