Questions from voters tend to be pretty predictable, and candidates often end up answering the same things over and over again — and giving increasingly boring answers. However, sometimes an unknown enters the equation — perhaps a person who has lived on Earth for such a short period of time that they are still curious about things adults take for granted. They may not be able to vote for at least another decade, but they do have the ability to make candidates accountable in still-unexplored ways.
Here are some of the most important questions that 2016 candidates have answered so far — asked by kids, ranked by us. It is not yet clear how their answers will affect the 2024 election.
7. “What are you going to do about the lunches?”
If a child were asked about the most important part of their life, there is a non-negligible chance they would say something about school lunches.
Anyway, Governor Chris Christie was asked this weekend to explain what he would do about the lunches, which have reportedly, according to this kid, deteriorated in quality during the Obama administration. Christie said that he was a libertarian when it comes to school-lunch choice.
6. “Are you running to be president? Is it hard?”
Jimmy Kimmel put together a focus group of kids and asked them if they thought a woman could be president. The two boys on the panel were skeptical, thinking that a woman president would be too girly and scared to do anything. The two girls on the panel were positive that a woman could be president.
Then Hillary Clinton walked into the room. The two girls knew who she was; the others seemed to have no idea. The kids all decided that her biggest priorities should be getting people toys and free lunch at restaurants.
5. “What’s a border?”
According to MSNBC, Jeb Bush was not particularly good at answering the questions of middle-schoolers in New Hampshire. After going on and on about border security, one kid asked him to define border. (“Have you been to Canada? That’s just north of here, by the way. A border is what separates countries.”)
4. “The world’s on fire?”
“The Obama economy is a disaster. Obamacare is a train wreck, and the Obama Clinton foreign policy of leading from behind. The whole world’s on fire.” The above quote is not a voice-over narration from a new horror movie; it is only a line from a Ted Cruz speech in New Hampshire.
Most of the time, no one calls presidential candidates out when their exaggerations get a bit too excessive. This is when a very literal-minded 3-year-old is handy. Cruz told her that, yes, her world is on fire. She didn’t seem too fazed by that.
The kid’s mom told a local TV station, “She really basically was like, ‘Oh oh, this is a great man.’ He’s a firefighter in her mind as a 3-year-old and was quite happy, and then she wanted a cookie.”
3. “What will the wall be made out of?”
Here’s a question a young boy asked Trump — but it was also a secret password that quickly got him whisked up on the stage, where he was given the privilege of getting a kiss from the presidential candidate and a chance to loudly say hello in an elementary-school student’s deadpan monotone.
Trump deemed the question “great.”
The answer was not gold. Trump’s wall will be made of hardened concrete, rebar, and steel. Mexico has not agreed to pay for these materials, as Trump has said it will.
2. “What is the most important part of life, like, out of all the things?”
A boy in New Hampshire asked Hillary Clinton this very deep question. After saying that he probably had a future as a philosopher or a theologian, she responded: love.
NPR thinks that at least 29 children have asked Clinton questions at town halls so far this year. Critics have complained that the questions sound like they were planted, although it is not clear how this specific one helps her stay on message.
1. “Why would you want to be president of a nation that might consider voting for Donald Trump?”
In which a young person hacks his way into Jeb Bush’s mind.