By Andrea Castillo, JMI Intern & Florida State University Senior in Economics
Although the main focus of last night’s Republican debate might have been the presidential hopefuls on stage, the night’s breakaway stars weren’t running for the nomination. In fact, the real show-stealers of the debate haven’t even received their driver’s licenses yet. Last night, viewers were treated to a series of informative and adorable commercials in which elementary school children explained topics like the national debt, macroeconomics, defense spending, and entitlement reform. As one young lady explained during her spot, it is important for kids to be knowledgeable about these subjects because kids “will be the ones picking up the tab.”The stark contrast between the sometimes repetitive and usually ambiguous talking points favored by the poll-weary presidential candidates and the succinct analyses provided by the children was immediately obvious. While the candidates eschewed straightforward diagnoses and treatment plans for our economic quagmire and instead continued their routine of doling out nebulous promises of leadership and petty attacks on their opponents’ characters, the children in the advertisements clearly articulated the problems with our nation’s economy and urged their “wiser” elders to action.Of course, the rigors of filming a one-minute commercial spot are quite different from the constant pressure and scrutiny of running for national office. Still, the urgent appeals of the children in the commercials were, in my opinion, much more indicative of the political mood in the country. Americans are exhausted of tired clichés and broken promises and are looking for real solutions to real problems.Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that the most relevant political discourse of the night did not come from the political experts but rather from our nation’s youth. After all, debt becomes hard to ignore when you are the one who eventually has to foot the bill.