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  • Joseph Woodward

Five takeaways from the 2016 presidential debates

Why Won’t Trump Say He Will Accept The Results?

His VP will say it. His kids will say it. His campaign manager(s) will say it. But Donald Trump will not say he will accept the results of the election. Instead, Trump says “I will tell you at the time. I will leave you in suspense.” That almost sounds like it’s a game. In case you’re thinking what’s the big deal about this, if Trump tells his supporters that the election is rigged then you have Trump voters thinking that our government system is now unfit for its people. That is a very dangerous slippery slope and according to Thomas Jefferson “A little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing.” So don’t be surprised if you start to hear we are due for a rebellion if Trump loses.

Trumps Antics on stage lead to entertainment, but not encouragement

There are several reasons why I watch these debates. Yes, of course I think it’s important to be informed and know exactly what each candidate represents. Yes, I write for a political news source so it’s my “job.” But a big reason I watched these debates is that they are fun. I couldn’t listen to John McCain or Mitt Romney talk for an hour and a half. But Donald Trump? Yeah I could listen to the stuff he says all night. He is my Comedy Central for the night. And I’m not alone. More than 200 million Americans registered for the upcoming election--the largest number ever for any of our country's elections. And I believe it’s because no matter who you are, this man says enough stuff for you have to have an opinion on him. Sure, Hillary is leading most polls, but just another member of the political institution did not raise voter participation rates exponentially in just 4 years. Trump did. And whether or not you like him, that’s a win for all of America.

Sometimes, These Debates were too painful to watch

While I found myself laughing or taking into account what the candidates were actually saying when they weren’t bickering, it was often painful to sit through the debates in their entirety. When three people talk over each other, I have no idea what they’re saying, regardless of importance. And while some moderators and some formats conveyed fewer petty spats and overlapping talking, I found it a little embarrassing how our “leaders” can’t even have a political conversation without the name-calling and disrespect for not only each other but for the whole political system.

VP Debate: Same Old Same Old

It’s unfortunate, but the VP debate was actually worse, in terms of petty quarrels and overlapping talking. Tim Kaine’s constant interruptions and petty callouts were an embarrassment to Virginia. As a Virginia native, I would know. Although, I do admit that I really like Senator Kaine’s policies and beliefs. For example, while he is a devout Catholic, his abortion policy is one I truly admire. He says that while it goes against his personal beliefs, but “the right role for government is to let women make their own decisions” according to Kaine. So you can see how he can appeal to both sides with his mostly moderate views. But the rhetoric of Governor Mike Pence was downright scary. His LGBT discrimination law in Indiana allowed business to deny their goods or services to any member of the LGBT community, and only under national scrutiny did he sign a bill amending the legislation. Pence doesn’t shy away from it either. In the debate, he was more controlled and seemingly prepared than Sen. Kaine, but his idea that we need to “double” the size of our current military is absurd. Why? Who are we fighting that is deserving of the government doubling its $600 Billion defense budget? That’s already more than the next 10 closest militaries combined.

I had to wait a day before writing any part of this piece

About as even an independent you will find, I still found myself heated after the debates. I wanted to start writing and taking notes so everything would be fresh in my mind. Instead, I found myself getting too one sided or amped up about a particular remark the candidates made. I think that represents this election in a nutshell. We (America) have become more divided through the rhetoric spewed from both sides of the ticket. Each party is being wedged farther apart by this election, and their followers along with it. Evidence of this can be found at some of Trump rallies that too often turn violent. I don’t remember Mitt Romney, John McCain, or President Obama having several incidents of brutal fighting and hateful rhetoric. The election has been hard fought and even dirty at some points, but that doesn’t mean the candidate's supporters should follow the candidates lead. Trump has even encouraged the violence! He says “I’ll pay for the legal fees” to supporters who he just told should use violence against anyone denouncing his speech. Or you could refer to when he said “In the good old days they would be leaving here on a stretcher.” I don’t think whatever those days are they should be referred to as “good.”

Bonus note – Advantage: Hillary Clinton

I wanted to call that subtitle “Winner: Hillary Clinton” but reminded myself that if it’s one thing we’ve all learned this election cycle, its that you can’t count anybody out, especially not Trump. And so now we wait for the fun, or not so fun part. Well the next week or so should be all too suspenseful for most of us. Or, according to recent polls, not suspenseful at all.

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