Why You Shouldn’t Skip the Debates

At first I was going to do a video on this. But as I tried to work it out, I realized this is far more complicated to explain in an audio than it would be to let you read it and figure out what I am trying to communicate.  In this lecture we’re going to evaluate the election debates.

We oftentimes don’t have time to listen to these long back and forth discussions (if you can call them that), but they are important.  More important than any other part of the process, save your actual vote.  A debate tells us a number of things about a candidate when you weed through it all, but most of all it communicates-

1) Whether a candidate has fleshed out their policies, and has a plan to execute them.

2) The value they place on each policy.

Although the primary debates can say volumes about a candidate, the debates between the finalists help cast light on the contrasts between the candidates in a way listening to them separately may not convey.

Let’s start with the premise that I set up in our last video: when listening to a debate you need to determine what a candidate’s priorities are – especially the ones after the primaries. What policy will the candidate try to pass first, and what is their second priority.

When we created our hypothetical weighted scale, we gave an order of personal importance for each topic, based on how high or low of a number it was assigned. Here was the order:

Foreign Policy (10)
Healthcare (9)
Job Creation (7)
Homeland Security (6)
Immigration (6)

The last two tied. So what we are looking for in our candidate’s priorities is hopefully this same order and hopefully we like their policies. But it won’t always be the case. Below is an example of how our pretend candidates can vary in their value of importance and our own.

image

If you add these together, you will find that Candidate 2 was our original favorite, but now the order of priority is completely opposite of what our own priority is. This presents its own issues. In fact every candidate has prioritized Homeland Security when it was at the bottom of our list. Suddenly, Candidate 2 may not be the best candidate for our interests. So let’s set them aside and focus on 1 and 3. Candidate 1’s Homeland Security is terrible, but his/her second priority is our own: Healthcare. And we love their take. Candidate 3’s Healthcare is basically reprehensible, but it’s not something we have to worry too much about, because 3 most likely will not get around to it.

What this means is that we need to re-evaluate the importance of Homeland Security in our own priority set. If it is more valuable than Healthcare, then our candidate is objectively 3, but if we find Healthcare to be of more value, we need to strongly consider Candidate 1.

Remember the first debate since the primaries is Monday night! If you’re working, I recommend finding a site with the whole debate recorded, highlights tend to skew the reality of what was said, and usually has an agenda.

Finally I hope you’re watching local elections this season, especially concerning congressional candidates, which will be the focus of my next video.

See you next time on Let’s Regroup, where we aspire to build stronger citizens.

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