Presidential candidates should redirect discussions from insults to policy

Regardless of party lines or political stances, there is one thing that all reasonable American voters should be able to agree on: the back-biting, immature behavior from presidential candidates has gotten old.

This is not aimed at one candidate or even one party. Many, if not all, of the presidential candidates have given into the temptations of disparaging the competition. This is understandable, given the extreme differences of viewpoints among candidates, but that does not make it right. There are ways to point out the fallacies in a politician’s policy without bashing the person.

There are many idioms to back up the heart of this editorial, the first being “don’t fight fire with fire.” This approach was seen repeatedly at the rallies for Donald Trump and former candidate Marco Rubio. A few weeks ago, Trump spoke at a rally in Fort Worth, where he made fun of Rubio’s physical appearance (“He looks like a little boy”) and his sweat (“I thought he just came out of a swimming pool”). In turn, Rubio took up a substantial amount of time that same weekend making fun of Trump’s Twitter account. Rubio even went as far to say suggest that maybe Trump hired illegal workers to write his tweets for him just as he had hired illegal workers at Trump Towers several years earlier.

The bashing is senseless hype. As voters, it is our hope that other Americans are voting based on policy, rather than which candidate can pack the best witty punch. In fact, witty may be an overstatement, as many of the backhanded comments haven’t been clever.

When candidates spend time trashing others, they waste precious campaign time that could have been centered on educating voters on policies and stances. Perhaps the media has been partly responsible for blowing the drama out of proportion, but that does not negate the fact that many childish things have been said. Given the possibility that one of these people may become the leader of our country, shouldn’t we be voting for maturity? Unfortunately, that often seems out of reach.

We would like to reiterate that this is not aimed at one individual or party. Hillary Clinton has bashed Trump, Bernie Sanders has bashed Clinton, Ted Cruz has bashed President Obama… the list goes on. This is not a new phenomenon. Politicians have been doing this for centuries. Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th American president, once said of James A. Garfield, the 20th American president, “Garfield has shown that he is not possessed of the backbone on an angleworm.” However, it feels that the insults have taken on a more substantial role in this election.

If a politician wants to point out the competition’s error, fine, but they should be able to do so with dignity. Sometimes it is necessary to expose the fallacies of other candidate’s argument. This, however, does not need to include jabs at their families, appearance or Twitter presence. Sadly, it seems diplomacy is reserved for foreign affairs, if that.