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Brittni Teresi '19 Calls on Presidential Nominees to Focus on What Matters Most During Debate

Brittni Teresi '19

Philadelphia Inquirer: Commentary: Use debate time to focus on what matters most

Surrounded by the laughs and groans of others at a presidential debate party, I bury my face in my hands as I listen to the presidential candidates answer the moderator's questions with monologues that are not answers at all. I try not to let out a heavy sigh as Donald Trump tells Hillary Clinton that even Bernie Sanders says she has "poor judgment" or as Clinton interrupts Trump yet again to "fact check" another statement.

As the debate continues, masking my disapproval gets harder as both candidates fail to miss a beat when insulting one another, yet inevitably fumble when it comes to policy. Trump claimed he isn't involved with Russia, despite evidence to the contrary. He once again accused President Obama of founding ISIS and mocked Clinton for not passing any policies as senator, even though, as we all know, it takes more than one senator to pass legislation. Clinton was lacking in details when discussing policy as well, suggesting the United States is energy independent and failing to outline how she would improve the Affordable Care Act.

To make matters worse, the few times policy was actually discussed in favor of insults, there was ambiguity as to the legislation or policies that candidates would actually support.

Sure, it can be detrimental for a candidate to talk specifics in a debate, as that could result in a loss of support among independents or less partisan voters. But the candidates should at least give a better sense of their ideas for policies to give voters a vision of their platform. That's the kind of information that helps debates contribute to informed voting. They show Americans the passions and goals of the candidates.


From this millennial's perspective, I believe that all people deserve a chance to pursue their own version of the American dream, regardless of their religion, race, or ethnicity. I, along with many people my age, am ashamed of politics and the lack of focus it has on the people.

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At Swarthmore, Brittni Teresi '19, a psychology major from Las Vegas, Nev., is a Philip Evans Scholar and a Lang Center associate for environment, food, and sustainability. She has also written for The Phoenix.


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