Dear Republican Presidential Candidates: Take a Hint from the Democrats

Nora Turriago ’16
Opinions Editor

While watching the Democratic presidential debate on Oct. 13, I was taken aback by one thing in particular: the absence of offensive comments. There were no attacks on the physical appearance of fellow candidates. No one used racial slurs to refer to a specific demographic. Instead of petty insults and arguments, I found myself listening to actual discussions of how to address important issues facing the United States. What sort of blasphemy was this?

It is no longer surprising to wake up to a headline broadcasting the latest dehumanizing remark spewed by a Republican presidential candidate. Indeed, Republican candidates seem convinced that the more outrageous their comments are, the greater their rise to the top of the polls will be. And they are not wrong:  Donald Trump, king of all things offensive, is in the lead.

The September Republican presidential debate was exactly what everyone thought it would be: riddled with outrageous insults, shouting, false claims and racist rhetoric. It did not lack in entertainment. I was disgusted yet fascinated by the chaotic mess unraveling on my TV screen. There seemed to be beauty in the madness, and I could not stop watching. The debate for the leader of America was no longer a formal, proper affair but rather an amusing show full of drama and outlandish remarks. I wanted to simultaneously laugh and cry at the ridiculousness of it all. Is this what politics in America has become?

The Democratic presidential debate provided a much-needed reassurance that political candidates can, indeed, engage in debate about current events and improving the country all while remaining civil and – oh, the horror! – even friendly.

In his closing statement, Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley said, “On this stage, you didn’t hear anyone denigrate women. You didn’t hear anyone make racist comments about new American immigrants. You didn’t hear anyone speak ill of another American because of their religious belief. What you heard instead on this stage tonight was an honest search for the answers that’ll move our country forward.”

Mr. O’Malley, I could not have put it better myself. It is never acceptable to insult others or rely on negative racial stereotypes to draw inaccurate conclusions, yet the Republican candidates consistently use these tactics in to gain fanfare, applause and recognition. While these remarks might be amusing, it is important to always remember that such statements are not acceptable, especially on a political stage.

When prominent politicians articulate such prejudices, the targeted demographic can feel attacked or persecuted in their own country. The Republican candidates need to stop with the blundering rhetoric and take note of how the Democratic candidates conduct themselves on the campaign trail.

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