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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

The Political Front: A Game of Likability

At risk of sounding Cronkite-esque, our country is facing difficult times indeed. It seems now more than ever the oval office has become a beast of a thing to take on. There are many important issues our nation must face, and at the helm of it all is the President of the United States.

   We know what a big job it is, which is why many are feeling disappointed by our current political climate, dissuaded by the choices the major political parties have presented us with. It’s not hard to see who’s the better choice between the two (hint: it’s not the orange one), but even that isn’t necessarily an optimal outcome.

   Watch any debate today and you’ll see traditional politics are over, replaced by a game of likability. Candidates spend more time tarnishing their opponent’s reputation than they do debating the issues, and even the informed electorate will have a hard time finding information beyond this. This entire election is nothing more than a mess of smear campaigns.

   Take the final presidential debate for example. The candidates seemed to be much more concerned with defacing the other’s name than they did with actually making progress talking about the issues. Granted that it was mostly coming from one side, that being Donald Trump, but let’s not pretend that Hillary Clinton doesn’t play right into that game.

   The tactic is prominent because both of these major candidates have such morally ambiguous and ethically questionable pasts it would be stupid not to go for their reputations. But here’s the thing: When I go to the vote on Tuesday, Nov. 8, I won’t be thinking about any of that. I’ll be thinking of who can do the least amount of damage.

   To me, there’s no question that whoever is elected into office will only serve one term. Both options are bad options, and while we’re clearly in a bad place now I look forward optimistically knowing many share the same sentiment. When we make mistakes, we learn from them and we move on. The political candidates for the two major parties are a result of the way we in the United States have been handling our political system for far too long.

   Maybe this election is the turning point we needed to gain some perspective and learn from our mistakes.

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