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Commentary: Election coverage causes apathy

With every news media outlet in the nation covering the primary race to select the Republican presidential candidate, it is safe to say that America is anxious to see who will challenge President Barack Obama in the 2012 election.

Living in Washington D.C. this past summer has completely exhausted me of this primary race. There were new headlines every day, if not every hour, following the candidates’ personal lives and campaign drama. Meanwhile, our current president was looking gray trying to decide what to do about the rising $15 trillion debt the U.S. has racked up since the 1990s.

As much as I love to follow the elections, and I certainly have engaged in reading these headlines, I think it’s all too much, too fast. After interviewing political science professors from Ohio State, a lot of them have said “We don’t know, and we won’t for a while.”

So as I certainly think the media should cover who wins the caucuses and it is important for America to know these things, breaking news stories every hour, on the hour about he-said, she-said is just almost glazing America over to the reality that this person might be the next president of the United States.

With Obama’s approval rating at 47 percent, there’s no doubt that this will be a closer race than people had anticipated less than a year ago. The Republican caucuses have been neck-and-neck and it’s great to see such political competitiveness. Former President George W. Bush had approval ratings of 55 percent in January in the year of his re-election, so that is an indicator that the race will be historic.

But more and more, I hear opinions like “I don’t like any candidates,” and “they’re all bad people.” I think I would attribute some of these to the way the media outlets dig up everything on them. I’m not defending any candidates by any means, but does a person’s personal life have anything to do with how they would run a country? And yet, Americans base their opinions off of it.

Americans should be well aware of the issues and what candidates think of them, and not base who they vote for, if they vote at all, off of what his or her ex-spouse did in the Bahamas last spring. I do hope that I am wrong, and all the campaign coverage and drama will fire Americans up to vote for the candidate that they’ve researched and believe can lead this country, but I strongly think that the media coverage is making Americans apathetic toward elections for 2012.

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