Dealing with the debates — why our country needs to reevaluate our frontrunner candidates

Conor O'Bryon

Ah, there’s nothing quite like an election year. Normally I would be excited, but right now I don’t know if I should be worried, dejected or both. Probably both. Why? Well, let’s see. Bernie Sanders, the self-proclaimed democratic socialist, is actually mounting a semi-serious challenge to Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump and Ted Cruz seem to be charging ahead of more moderate, qualified candidates. How the heck did this happen? We have had seven years of pretty subpar leadership. We need someone who can take charge and get America back on its feet. Really, none of the frontrunners appear to be the right solution. Inexperience, hot-headedness, dubious ethics and immaturity should not be qualities of presidents.

In the Jan. 17 Democratic debate, it seemed as if Sanders was just an angry old man. I was worried he would suffer some sort of medical condition, the way he was shouting and yelling about how we’re getting screwed over by billionaires and millionaires. That’s presidential material? Then there was Clinton. Her record is an issue. President Obama’s foreign policy has been weak at best, including a lead-from-behind approach to conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere as well as the negotiating of the Iran nuclear deal. Some of that weak foreign policy is connected to Clinton’s time as Secretary of State. Oh, and there was a third person on that stage, former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley. The moderators seemed to be blind to the fact there was in fact a third person on the stage, and barely directed any attention to him. Pity, that, because he seemed to give the best answers.

Then there’s the Republican field. The Jan. 14 debate had only seven candidates, which gave a semblance of order. While it was slightly calmer with the absence of Rand Paul, it was still a circus. Speaking of Paul, he effectively boycotted the second-tier debate because he didn’t make the cut for the first one. The polls are what they are. Paul is relatively inexperienced, and most Americans don’t favor a libertarian isolationist.

The other Republican I really can’t stand is Cruz. His inexperience and hardline conservatism is not what we need in a president. I couldn’t believe the comment he made about New York values being “socially liberal, pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, focus around money and the media.” Why would he use that tactic to attack Trump? Besides the fact that it was utterly distasteful, it was plain dumb. There are so many other ways you could question Trump.  What about asking for some details about his ideas? Why and how would he halt all immigration of Muslims? I say that because, besides saying it’ll “be great,” Trump lacks depth to his responses in debates. And you, Cruz, choose to attack him by insulting an entire state?

But then we had the Jan. 28 debate. Let’s start with what happened before the debate, namely, Trump’s decision not to attend. His spat with Megyn Kelly really snowballed, to say the least. There is the odd timing — this is the last debate before the Iowa caucus, so it is kind of important. Why let Cruz and the others take center stage to sway voters to their side? Then there was the actual debate. Why in the world did Fox let Rand Paul back in? They should’ve kept it at six candidates and forgotten Paul. Of course, since that didn’t happen, it was a circus like usual. Carson, too, needs to go. Honestly, what does this pediatric neurosurgeon, even a great one, know about worldwide politics? It shows in the debates. He looked half-asleep on the stage, seemed surprised when a question was directed at him, and appeared unsure of what he was talking about. And poor Cruz, whining about how the questions were attacking him. The moderator Chris Wallace did a wonderful job of shutting down Cruz’s complaints and re-explaining the rules of a debate to him.

So, the debates have been crazy as ever. Honestly, it’s hard not to feel sad about where we are. Obama’s foreign policy is a wreck, and we’ve still got months more of it. Will the next president come in time to help restore America? Will our future leader be able to tackle Congress, get bipartisanship going and achieve a functioning government?