Conservative Column

Debate shows that ‘Stronger Together’ will be hard to achieve

/ The Daily Orange

Two dads, one stage. That’s how the vice presidential debate went down, in a nutshell.

For those of you who tuned into the vice presidential debate and expected anything more than a makeshift “yo momma” battle between two Politico dads, my apologies.

Hillary Clinton’s running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, and Donald Trump’s vice presidential candidate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, provided America with a mildly entertaining justification of their candidates’ policy stances on Tuesday. But ultimately, they showed Americans the severity of the polarization between the Democratic and Republican parties in the U.S.

There is no denying that the parties and the candidates that represent them have been taking cheap shots and low blows at one another as they race to the White House. What the parties and candidates do not seem to care about are the implications of the constant name-calling.

This square-off between the vice presidential candidates was less fiery than last week’s presidential debate, but the VP candidates maintained the pattern of perpetual interruptions and  and playing the blame game. Kaine compared Trump’s immigration plan to “deportation nation,” while Pence said Clinton and Kaine’s campaign has been an “avalanche of insults.” As much as these sound bites make for a great tweets, what do they accomplish? Nothing, if you ask me.

It got to the point where Pence and Kaine even argued over whose campaign is more insult-based than the other. They couldn’t go 10 minutes without arguing or talking over one another. Watching this, I forgot there was a moderator present.

We have become a nation that runs mid-debate polls, tasking us with picking who is winning and who is losing. Is that what matters? This is not an accurate way of getting a feel for what the nation thinks about the candidates, but rather another way to pit the two sides against one another.

That is exactly what was done at this debate. Both vice presidential hopefuls, while trying to make a case for their respective running mates, attempted to frame the other campaign in a bad light. Kaine tried to tie almost every issue, from immigration to Aleppo, back to Donald Trump’s refusal to show his tax returns. Meanwhile, Pence brought up the fact that the Clinton Foundation accepted money from controversial foreign governments.

Of course, in order for things to get done within government, there needs to be some sort of agreement between the Democrats and Republicans. There is no argument there. And in order to have agreement, compromise has to be made within each party. If candidates continue to highlight their differences, rather than focus on how they plan on working together to accomplish their goals, working together will be an ideal, rather than a possibility. While it is the game of politics to try to prove how one candidate will be more efficient than the other, what both campaigns forget is that eventually, the two parties have to work together to achieve anything.

Clinton’s campaign slogan is “Stronger Together,” and Donald Trump’s is “Make America Great Again,” both alluding to the fact that unification is key to a successful nation. What both of these candidates forget is that in order to achieve this, we need to work together, develop effective policies, and keep our country and its citizens safe.

Partisan bickering and he said-she said arguing will not get us there, but rather, pull us further apart. It is the last thing our country needs right now, but it has become our cold reality.

Will Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” become our next national anthem? Probably not, because I doubt we are never ever, ever getting back together. But regardless of who becomes the next president and vice president, one thing is for sure: they will find it extremely difficult if this level of polarization and partisan bickering persists.

Vanessa Salman is a senior political science major and history minor. Her column appears weekly. She can be reached at vksalman@g.syr.edu or @VanessaSalman on Twitter.

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