Logic lost on the campaign trail

Patrick Quinlan

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At this point in the presidential election, many people on both sides have already thrown their support behind one candidate or another. Citing economic troubles or voting solely based on social issues, it seems people on both sides will vehemently defend their chosen candidates, even when said candidates say or advocate for the most absurd things imaginable.

 For me, blindly following one single candidate in such a manner is antithetical to reasonable discourse and, quite frankly, is why rational arguments are so often cast aside in favor of pejoratives and baseless insults, especially around campaign season.

 The problems I have with political discourse — or lack thereof — just scratch the surface of the issues a two-party system brings to a nation of generally apathetic people. Logical arguments, the basis of reasonable conclusions, can only rarely be used to convince voters. Instead we see these fallacious, emotion-based appeals backed by literally nothing entering the realm of conversation and, unfortunately, being taken seriously.

 Whether it’s Bernie Sanders complaining about income inequality and the 1 percent or Donald Trump putting our nation’s problems squarely on the Chinese and illegal Hispanic immigrants, these emotional appeals are immediately eaten up by everyone involved in the political process despite not being rooted in reality at all.

 Free trade, something that both Sanders and Trump oppose, and immigration are net positives to the economy, as economists have reached near consensus on this, but these arguments still are allowed to be espoused with basically zero criticism from supporters of these two candidates.

 Keep in mind, I’m not just calling out Trump and Sanders here, as Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton have their own problems with emotional “arguments.” Cruz does it on the subject of abortion and gay marriage and Clinton on her actions as Secretary of State (along with a whole host of other topics she uses this for). Trump and Sanders just use these types of appeals so often I am perpetually amazed at the complete lack of reprisal when they do so.

 I hesitate to even call these kinds of emotional appeals arguments, yet they are the driving force of political discourse today and allow all reason and logic to be entirely thrown away in favor of shouting and insults. How is that going to get us anywhere? How will we be able to come to substantive conclusions about the most important issues of our day if the only discussion we have about them has no basis in fact and is comprised entirely of screaming matches and pejoratives?

 I cannot support any of the two-party candidates in the 2016 election, and the explanation for this is two-fold. Firstly, every two-party candidate will perpetuate the political discourse culture of emotion-based lunacy. Secondly, they all wish to use the state to dictate the peaceful economic and social behaviors of human beings.

 Such actions are both immoral and reprehensible, and thus I could never support any candidate who continues this dreadful state of discourse, nor could I support anyone who wishes to use the power of the state to control the lives of individuals.

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