An average-looking white man named Pete. A chaotic first stop in the Midwest. National headlines covering the race-related controversies of competitors.
If you’ve tuned in to current political events, your mind is probably jumping to the Democratic primary races. If you’re like the rest of us, you’re probably thinking about the crown jewel of Monday night television: “The Bachelor.”
This season of “The Bachelor” follows Peter Weber, a 28-year-old pilot choosing a fiancée out of 30 women vying for his affection over the course of 10 weeks. The contestants attempt to woo him, but in this season, the drama among contestants has drawn the focus of the competition away from the show’s original mission to find love.
Though the plot is relatively simple, the drama of the season bears a resemblance to the chaos of the Democratic Debate that took place in Las Vegas last Wednesday. The spectacle of the debate rivaled the “most dramatic season” yet of the reality TV show, with name-calling, allegations and new front-runners every week.
The main theme of the night was “attack.” Before the first commercial break, every candidate in the debate had verbally attacked another candidate onstage. The frivolous fights among contestants in “The Bachelor” are hardly substantive or productive, but the same goes for the skirmishes at the Las Vegas Democratic Debate.
Just like “The Bachelor” contestants have only a brief time with Peter to demonstrate their priorities and values, the candidates had only one minute and 15 seconds to answer each burning question in front of the American public.
Some “Bachelor” contestants waste these moments with Peter by calling out another woman for not competing “for the right reasons,” and the Democratic candidates mirrored this sentiment during the debate. The largest recipient of bitter criticism was the newcomer to the stage, Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York, whose opponents have argued “that he’s using his billions to game the system and pervert the whole shebang.”
This distraction offered a reprieve to the presidential candidate that the Democrats should be focused on defeating: President Trump. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who herself got entangled in a major argument with Mayor Pete Buttigieg, expressed during a post-debate interview that Trump was a secondary point of discussion. A Hill-HarrisX survey found that 65% of Democrat and liberal Independent registered voters said their top priority was choosing a nominee who has the best chance at beating the incumbent president. Tearing down other Democratic candidates is no way to accomplish this goal and hinders the long-term success of finding a viable and “electable” candidate.
Infighting among “The Bachelor” contestants and the Democratic candidates has led to the disillusionment of those who follow the contests. I know people who have switched their votes over vicious attacks of other candidates and those who have vowed to not vote for a candidate if they become the nominee because of their character.
Democratic candidates should step up to emphasize policies and focus on how to win the love of the American people rather than attempt to make the other candidates appear like villains. We already have one reality TV star in office ー how well is that working out for the Democratic Party?
Katie Dames is a junior international studies major from St. Louis, Missouri.