Democrats v. Republicans: Students participate in political debate


Ty Seymour of the college Republicans speaks to the crowd during the debate.

Dylan HavilandGeneral Assignment Reporter 

The two groups of university students sat on their respective sides of the table.  On one side the college Democrats and on the other the college Republicans.  The student political groups intensely debated while maintaining a professional and polite position to each other’s opposing view.  Across from the college Democrats and Republics, a crowd of students and visitors gave them their full attention, among cameras and recorders.

The debate concerned the ‘legacies for president’, pertaining to the two possible presidential candidates Hilary Clinton and Jeb Bush, both with strong connections and pasts to the White House.   As the 2016 election comes near, the debate was an eager discussion among the students.

First, the groups were asked to discuss the issue of both candidates’ history with the presidency and in regards as to whether this gave them an advantage.

“In regards to Jeb Bush I am more inclined to say that I do believe he would have been very successful without his father [George H.W. Bush] just due to the fact that in his first political office he was appointed by the governor of Florida to lead one of the agencies there and before his father was president,” said Ty Seymour during the debate, sophomore and political science, college Republicans.

John Coniglio, college Republicans, went on to say that George W. Bush’s low popularity would not help Jeb Bush’s run for presidency, but the fact that Jeb is determined and works hard is a valuable tool if he decides to run.

“Name isn’t everything that’s what I want to say, obviously in some places a Bush in Texas is pretty much guaranteed to win and the same thing with a Kennedy in Massachusetts.  But I will like to think that Hilary used more than just name alone to get where she is today,” said Andrew Frentress, senior and political science, and president of the college Democrats.  “She’s come a very long way in terms of what she has accomplished and the history that she has made.”

The debate was also important in encouraging students on campus to become politically involved on campus.  Near the entrance of the meeting a table was set up where students could register for voting.

“Right now the percentage numbers of those who [vote] that are 18 to 29 years old actually is somewhere in 40 percent and that is just in the presidential election, if you see the numbers for those who are over 65 its almost double, that its well over 70 percent,” said Professor Jonathan Wharton, political science and advisor to both student political groups.  “So there has to be something to make up this gap and that is so important that students register to vote.”

Both the college Republicans and Democrats are a chance for students to express their political concerns and become active on campus.  The groups are heading in for a debate sometime next semester as elections come near.

“I think it’s important that students at least respect both sides,” said Wharton.  “Maybe you know individuals make up their own minds on which party and candidate they see best and I think it is most important that they register for one of the parties so they can have a say when it comes to the primary election.”

As the debate continued both sides acknowledged the strengths and weaknesses of the presidential candidates, noting each other’s statements and giving back an opinion of their own.  Overall, the debate was an example of political activeness on campus.

“It is important to get active because you know it does not matter if you are voting for president of the United States or a member of the board in your town, these people make decisions that affect you,” said Frentress.

Photo Credit: Dylan Haviland

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