Election 2018 Opinion State OPINION: Ohio Senate debates reflect nation’s toxic partisan divide By Azavieria Payne Posted on October 18, 2018 8 min read 0 0 200 Sen. Sherrod Brown is eclipsing Rep. Jim Renacci in the polling. (AP Photo/Phil Long, Pool) Opinion writer Azavieria Payne argues the poor performance of both Brown and Renacci in the debates is a symptom of our nation’s broader partisan divide. This past Sunday sparked the first of the Ohio Senatorial Debates. Ohio’s candidates, Jim Renacci and Sherrod Brown, went head to head on issues concerning health-care, climate change, Judge Kavanaugh, minimum wage and student loan debt. Even if you are sure who you are voting for, debates can make or break your decision. Debates call for transparency from the candidates and pushes them to think for themselves rather than reciting a script. During Sunday’s debate the viewers were given a glimpse of how unprepared both candidates were in terms of answering questions important to their constituents. By the end of the debate, many of us left with more questions rather than answers. Both Renacci and Brown had a difficult time answering questions and often times talked around them. Each response was followed by a snarky remark, calling on us to remember unrelated acts of the past or just flat out dodging the question but somehow coming back once time was up. This was very concerning to me, given the fact that these questions were tailored for issues we face here in Ohio According to Brown, every issue is a result of “Wall Street greed,” and Renacci’s lack of calling on Trump to fix these issues. If you had to ask Renacci, the root of the issues are Brown’s inability to be bipartisan while voting and his love of “Chuck Schumer and Washington D.C.” It’s unclear of what Brown or Renacci want to do in terms of fixing our health-care system. So far we know three things: Renacci believes those with preexisting conditions should be covered, Brown says Renacci voted to repeal ACA which would eliminate that coverage, and our health-care system is broken. After a report issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we learned that we ruined our planet, and by 2040 there is a possibility of worsening food shortages, and a mass extinction of coral reefs. In response to this issue, Brown discussed his disagreement with the withdrawal from the Paris Agreement and emphasized the importance of renewable energy. In return, Renacci believes we can’t outright get rid of coal and that Brown doesn’t support coal workers. Coal mining is a tough industry to kill, and as long as there is money to be made, it won’t die. In the wake of the “#MeToo” movement, the confirmation hearings of Judge Kavanaugh is said to be a low point for America in terms of woman’s rights and rape culture, but it only reaffirmed what women have been saying about sexual assault for decades. Brown believes Dr. Ford and Renacci doesn’t. In turn, Renacci believes Sherrod Brown’s first wife’s and her substantiated claims of abuse. Instead of saying yes or no to allegations of abuse, Brown reminded us that his ex-wife supports him and wants us to respect her privacy. It’s nice that his ex-wife supports him, but as stated by Renacci, “God bless her.” Brown’s response is a cop out and allows for speculation that the abuse is in fact true. If so, it points to the hypocrisy of Brown and members of the Democratic Party. For self described “Mr. Ohio First,” Jim Renacci believes the federal minimum wage is ridiculous and should be left to the states. He also taught us that a tariff is a tax and he supports Trump’s efforts on holding China accountable for their trade practices, but only in short term. The conversation then turned to education. Whether your father is a doctor or a railroad worker, student loan debt is a growing concern for millions of students like myself. Renacci stated that there should be more alternatives other than college, and that college isn’t the only way to be successful. It’s that there should be other ways to be successful in life, but he failed to mention how to improve the quality of life for those who don’t attend college. Renacci believes that there should be more alternatives to college for those who cannot afford it. It is important that in voting you look outside political affiliations, and do ample research on each candidate. Strictly voting within your political party is counterintuitive especially if you don’t agree with their policies on certain issues. In this year’s primaries, the goal shouldn’t “Lets vote out the Republicans” or “Let’s vote out the Democrats. The goal should be voting to improve the our democracy. Instead of leaning heavily to one side, voters should find a common ground and vote respectively.