Do Presidential Debates Actually Matter? That’s Debatable

Debates: they’re all we wait for during election season. When the time actually comes to sit down and watch them, you just sit and scream at the television, mostly at the candidate trying to smear the image of who you know you’ll be voting for. 

So with that, what is the point? What is the point of a debate if you are just going into it knowing you will be voting for the candidate representing your strongest political opinions, without even the slightest possibility of you changing your mind and changing your vote? There is none, if you are dead set and ready to cast your ballot tomorrow.

 There is a point, however, if you are a registered voter and still undecided over whom you feel would do the best job running the country. But, most likely you are just a headstrong liberal or conservative interested in raising your blood pressure. 

According to CNN, the undecided populous make up approximately 3 to 8 percent of eligible voters in the country. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but in this election, it can make or break either one of these candidates’ political futures. 

For example, during the course of Tuesday’s second Presidential debate, a woman by the name of Susan Katz told Governor Mitt Romney that while she was an undecided voter, discouraged with the course of our nation over the previous four years, she was still hesitant about throwing her vote his way. She felt that Romney being a Republican could make him to similar to former President George Bush, who’s policies are what put our country into the mess of which we have been trying to dig ourselves out. 

Both Obama and Romney gave Katz answers. They laid out their potential plans for how they will fix the economy. Both candidates addressed foreign policy, but how was she to know if all the plans that they said they have were the same as all of the plans that they have publicized in the previous weeks?

So let’s say you are undecided like Katz, and you sit down to watch this debate; are you actually getting all the facts? Of course, every opponent is going to present their stance as though it is going to really help not just you, but the entire country. But how much can you sway your plans so that they are still truthful to what you actually plan to do or have done?

 For President Obama running for a second term, this may be a little difficult. What’s done is done, and anyone is able to look back and see the facts and numbers about the previous term. As the opposing candidate, you have a little more leeway than that. 

But let’s be realistic, no one running for President of the United States is going to get there having zero political background. So, of course, all of the legislation you passed and the laws you voted for and everything you vetoed is going to come to light now, not to mention anything controversial that you might have said. When it comes debate season, you are to make yourself look spotless. 

If you want to discourage your electorate from voting for the opposing party, that’s fine and in fact, that is what you should do. But make sure what you have to say is not something that is going to leave you looking uneducated and severely misinformed. 

So in the end, are debates really worth it? If you have already decided who you’re voting for, four debates are not going to sway your decision. And if you have yet to decide, what’s the point? Chances are you aren’t getting facts, anyway. This is when we need to encourage our country to become more involved and educated in politics, so that the American people are not all spoon-fed falsehoods.