Opinion: Don’t cast your vote based only on debates

Bruce Walton

Bruce Walton

Bruce Walton is a sophomore news major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]

During the presidential debates, each candidate is under pressure for more than an hour in front of millions, discussing their opinions and plans on many issues facing Americans without much preparation, truly showing their colors as leaders acting quickly to give their answer to the public. For this, I give them my respect and also my understanding of how hard it must have been to make it this far in politics, but let’s try to make it easier on them by deciding based on more than the outcome of several debates.

For many undecided voters, the debates are a convenient and defining closing chapter toward the end of deciding who the better candidate is. This gives voters a chance to see both candidates battling for victory, trying to win over the people with well-stated explanations of their plans for the future if elected. The debates have a very important role in the campaigning and electoral process, but they should not be the only role; however, that is what most people take it as.

At this point, if you have not yet decided whom to choose, you should at least have a bit of base information on each candidate before and not just base it off of who did the best in a debate. There is a reason why we have these, but it is not to be the single basis for a voter’s decision.

If you still have not been able to decide which candidate you want, look at the debates and see how each candidate presents themselves, then fact-check by going online and seeing from different news sources which statements are true and which were lies. Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan did not necessarily lie if they said anything that was not true, but when debating off-the-cuff with no notes or assistance, some gaffes might be a slip-up.

A lot of people are still asking questions after these debates are over, and they probably will after the one tonight, but that’s why you also keep looking.

As a journalist, it is almost second nature to question reality, to question sources and find solid facts. The same can be said for the American people. In this day and age of amateur news sources, polarized political rhetoric and almost flat-out propaganda in many articles on the Internet, one can never be too careful about what to believe.

Always look for truth, always question and don’t just take the word of a friend, family member or authority figure. Don’t even let the debates be the only thing you use to decide. As we enter the last debate tonight, I hope everyone sees that it doesn’t matter who wins the debate but what you have learned from it.