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By Bob Bridge, Columnist

the thinker

“ I don’t base my vote on televised debates. Fortunately, a wealth of biological data is easily available at the library or online. Our republic must rely on an informed electorate to function as designed. A diet of gotchas and soundbites won’t suffice. I’m seeking a candidate with integrity, someone trustworthy and inspirational. Loyal lapdogs devoted to one special interest group need not apply.”

- Bob Bridge

A reader recently sent me the aforementioned quotation I had written several years ago. A few elections have passed, yet my opinion remains the same.

Yes, debates allow us to measure how candidates respond to difficult questions posed by objective observers. Sadly, in an era of subjectivity and contrived narratives, these forums can generate more entertainment than educational value.

Many have proposed a series of debates featuring President Joe Biden, former White House resident Donald Trump, and independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

I believe it would result in nastiness, name calling and even greater damage to an already divided republic. At this point, most citizens have decided which candidate will garner their vote.

Kennedy could draw a small percentage of the electorate that cannot tolerate Biden nor Trump, but the survivor is likely to be one of those two oft-angry arch-rivals.

Trump identifies Biden as “crooked” and the worst leader in our nation’s history; Biden calls Trump a “threat to democracy.”

Harsh words such as those do not manufacture much hope for middle ground.

Pew Research reviews show strengthening the economy, defending against terrorism, reducing the influence of money in politics, reducing health care costs, and improving education are the most important issues citizens are pondering.

The next five are making Social Security financially sound, reducing crime, dealing with immigration, lowering the availability of illegal drugs, and decreasing the budget deficit.

Donald Trump was in the Oval Office four years, and Biden has served just more than three. Both are reasonable stints to determine which leader’s policies have benefited or tarnished their respective records.

We’re no longer in high school. This is not a popularity contest. We are determining the effectiveness of a chief executive.

Let your conscience be your guide.

Bob Bridge welcomes comments at 812-276-9646 or

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