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Snapshot by Audrey Pucciarelli of the 2020 presidential candidates at the Nevada Democratic debate

Audrey Pucciarelli, Arts Editor

Personally, I am not an active participant in politics; however, as I grow up, I would like to become more educated about it. In order to do so, I decided to watch the Nevada Democratic debate on Feb. 19, hoping to become informed on issues and potential solutions to health care, foreign policy issues, climate change and much more. Or so I thought.

This debate was different than I had expected. After eight debates that had sparks of conflict but were relatively cordial, the night in Nevada brought two hours of nonstop bickering and name-calling.

As a first-time viewer, I felt like I was watching a reality TV show. This debate was incredibly contentious. The candidates bashed each other and focused more on petty, personal jabs rather than what the purpose of a debate truly is: to be informative.

Debates are intended to help voters make educated choices, encourage candidates to focus on policy issues and provide a platform for candidates to describe their presidential goals. Many political issues went undiscussed, such as details of the candidates’ stances on foreign policy and national security. Due to wasted time spent on arguments and a lack of control by the moderators, I walked away from this debate feeling no more informed than I had been prior.

Everyone piled on Michael Bloomberg as if he was a shiny new object. In my opinion, this was for good reason. Bloomberg’s debut on the presidential debate stage did not make a good first impression, as he spent endless time defending himself from the barrage of insults by retaliating with insults.

Elizabeth Warren, while remaining calm and collected, hit hard on the prior sexual harassment allegations Bloomberg has faced. Throughout this debate, she certainly landed the most hits on Bloomberg.

Although the candidates all went head to head,Amy Klobuchar’s and Pete Buttigieg’s conflict is just one example of how personal slander was a tactic in this particular debate. “I wish everyone was as perfect as you, Pete, but let me tell you what it’s like to be in the arena,” said Klobuchar, criticizing Buttigieg for his lack of national experience.

Throughout these two hours, there were many more occasions where the candidates lacked respect and interrupted one another. If they all want to be the President of the United States, and want people’s respect, then maybe they should learn how to respect each other first.

Many Americans have become fed up with U.S. politics. According to a 2018 article from the Public Religion Research Institute, 45 percent of Americans reported not being civically or politically engaged at all; 27 percent were young Americans, while the other 18 percent were seniors.

Debates over time have drastically changed; they used to be civil. But, with Trump’s administration, we have seen the parties divide like never before. Fairness and patience have dwindled, and bipartisanship is almost nonexistent.

Half of Americans will probably stay disengaged in politics after what they saw in Nevada.