The Eastern Michigan University political science department hosted a mock presidential debate in the ballroom of the Student Center Oct. 22.
The mock debate was moderated by EMU political science professor Edward Sidlow, and the three candidates were portrayed by professors from the political science department: Jeff Bernstein acted as President Barack Obama, Barry Pyle as Republican candidate Mitt Romney and Richard Stahler-Sholk as Green Party candidate Jill Stein.
Having three candidates instead of the usual two increased the amount of witty replies and attacks on opponents’ policies as would be seen in the actual debates. There were no noise restrictions on the audience, as Bernstein and Pyle did well to duplicate the commonly commented on mannerisms of their respective candidates, causing the audience to repeatedly break out into laughter.
The infusion of a Green Party presence into a forum typically dominated solely by Democrats and Republicans gave the debate a vastly different dynamic. From the beginning, Stahler-Sholk, advocating the positions of Jill Stein and her party, showed a stark difference in policy plans from the other two candidates.
On the topic of education, the Green Party stance was to make all education, up to and including college, free to attend. The funding for this decision would come from a 50 percent cut in military spending.
As the mock debate went on, the plans put forth by the Green Party showed the differences in the Obama and Romney agendas aren’t as different as commonly portrayed.
Gun violence was another issue where Stahler-Sholk as Stein stood apart from the rest. Stein’s stance is that the legalization of drugs would negate the need for illegal activity regarding drug dealing and trafficking, therefore reducing drug related gun violence. Pyle responded, “Maybe you’ve already been celebrating the legalization of drugs … with comments like that.”
As the debate concluded, the general feeling of those in attendance was that this demonstration was both enjoyable and educational, but there was a difference in opinion in whether this model should be applied to the real debates.
When asked whether the national debates should begin adding third party candidates, Brad Arnold, a political science and international affairs senior at EMU, said, “Of course. We have to know whom we are voting for … There are more than just two parties.”
On the other hand, Student Government President Matthew Norfleet said, “I don’t necessarily see the utility in it … if anything it would only negatively affect the incumbent.”
Monsanto calls the shots and makes record profits, ...
This is really interesting. The author has a very ...