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The debate questions Americans want answered
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The debate questions Americans want answered

It’s just a shame the media in control of the debate will be unlikely to focus on the most vital issues.

The media have begun their predictable lead-up to the first presidential debate slated for June 27 with the usual question — “Do debates really matter?” — before answering it themselves.

As Politico’s Jack Shafer points out, for the media, “there’s nothing like the pageantry and bombast of a presidential debate to fill the airwaves, headlines and homepages.” Still, he adds, “don’t expect the CNN or ABC debates to move the election either way.”

What Americans will be listening for isn’t Biden’s usual blame-shifting. They’ll be expecting for-real solutions.

But if the media did a better job framing the questions — if members of the New York and D.C.-based media were more in touch with the issues faced by families in the heartland — then maybe debates could move the needle a little more.

So in the spirit of helping the legacy media reconnect with the public it ostensibly serves, here are three questions American families deserve to hear answers from Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.

1) Can Washington turn the economy around?

Bidenomics has been a disaster for American families, but the media refuses to admit this. Slate has now declared inflation “functionally over” while the Washington Post will only go as far as acknowledging it's “possible that Americans are experiencing the economic equivalent of a hangover.”

The truth is that families are still suffering the effects of inflation. The average families is spending more than $1,000 per month compared to three years ago.

Biden will try to deflect worries about inflation, but Americans know the truth: Bidenomics has made us poorer — by design. Americans want to hear solutions, not excuses.

2) What’s the answer to the crisis at the southern U.S. border?

As with Bidenomics, the Biden administration tried for as long as it could to deny the very existence of a border crisis. When that no longer worked, Biden issued an executive order he says “will help us to gain control of our border, restore order to the process.”

It will do nothing of the sort. As my colleague Selene Rodriguez notes, “Border security has become the No. 1 issue for Americans from coast to coast, and the president is feeling that heat as the November election draws near.” But no election eve executive order can “reverse four years of failure,” she adds.

The executive order has already failed, a New York Post editorial points out, as one day last week “saw some 10,000 migrants in Border Patrol custody, four times the limit at which our president said he would stop processing the phony asylum claims used by illegals.”

The border was more secure than it has been in recent history under President Trump. Biden’s policies reversed Trump’s gains. What Americans will be listening for isn’t Biden’s usual blame-shifting. They’ll be expecting for-real solutions.

3) How will we strengthen America?

Our coffers and our military stockpiles have been depleted by ongoing wars in the Middle East and in Ukraine. As Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) said on Fox News in April, the president’s apparent weakness is emboldening the world’s worst tyrants. “You’re seeing it all over the world,” Scalise said. “Iran has seen the weakness of Joe Biden's administration. Putin has surely seen and taken advantage of the weakness. Xi in China is taking advantage of that weakness.”

And now, we have Russian warships in Cuba’s harbors in a provocative move. At home, the U.S. military is facing a recruiting crisis of historical proportions, driven by woke policies and a dithering commander in chief more concerned with diversity, equity, and inclusion than national security threats.

Americans are increasingly concerned about foreign wars and threats of international terrorism. They’re worried about the economy and their jobs and their kids.

They don’t want political theater when the GOP and Democratic presidential candidates come together later this month. They want answers. It’s just a shame the media in control of the debate will be unlikely to ask the right questions.

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Robert Henneke

Robert Henneke

The Hon. Robert Henneke is the executive director and general counsel at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.