Inside D.C.

Just the facts, please!

I’ve watched one presidential candidates’ debate, a vice presidential candidates’ debate and I’m gearing up for a second presidential candidates’ debate. Of the four participants to whom I’ve listened, I thank Mike Pence for no other reason than he talked policy and programs, not personalities and pejoratives.

I’m writing this blog 31 days before the November 8 election. If, upon pain of death, I had to give you details of the economic/immigration/national security/rural or defense positions of either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, I’m toast. Even cruising through their respective websites, I find myself with a disturbing lack of detail and/or explanation. This is wrong.

A recent survey by the Pew Research Center illustrates what I’m talking about. About 2,000 folks across the country were asked this question: How much would you say you know about where (your candidate of choice) stands on the important issues facing the country?

Less than half of those surveyed who support either Trump (41%) or Clinton (48%) said they knew “a lot” about their candidate’s positions. While Clinton’s folks did better on knowing “some” about her positions (32% v. 27%), 30% of Trump supporters and nearly 20% of Clinton supporters confessed to knowing “not much or nothing at all” about where their candidate stands on the pressing issues of the day.

I don’t blame the citizen voter for this lack of knowledge. We’re nearly a full year into the so-called “primary season,” and every time we think we’ve heard/seen it all, something even more bizarre is said/printed/broadcast. We’re near deaf from the noise and blustering of both sides of this presidential ticket. It’s time that at least three of the four who seek the nation’s highest jobs starting talking problem solving, using details to make their case. Heck, I learn more from the candidates’ surrogates than I learn from them.

We’re tired of hearing about what someone said or did when they were 22 years old and within the protective womb of college. You’re allowed – heck, you’re encouraged – to do stupid and/or idealistic stuff when you’re in college. I’m not voting for anyone’s husband/wife/children/parents, so spare me their indiscretions, as well.

Voters should not have to endure this exercise in character assassination in lieu of point-counterpoint. We need the specifics of a tax reform agenda, we need to know how you’ll jump start the economy, and we need to know how you’ll work to keep the country safe from threats from within and without.

As Sgt. Joe Friday used to say, “Just the facts, sir or ma’am.” (Google the reference if you’re unsure.) And now more than ever that should be both parties’ and both candidates’ operating mantra.

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