With only four days remaining until the presidential election, tensions are high. Even among a widely regarded liberal state, Maryland students are not all behind the Clinton bandwagon.
Maryland Discourse held a mock debate between different politically affiliated campus groups and students, which included Terps for Trump, Terps for Hillary and Terps supporting Gary Johnson, Nov. 3 in Juan Ramon Jiménez Hall.
Joseph Chuzhin, junior economics major and member of Maryland Discourse, was the moderator of the event — or the Terps’ version of Anderson Cooper or Lester Holt.
Chuzhin allowed each team — comprised of two students voting for their respective candidates — opening and closing statements, one minute to answer a directed or open question and 30 seconds to respond if their candidate was mentioned in an answer.
Ami Kutzen, senior American studies major and co-president of Terps for Hillary, and Meredith Lightstone, senior government and global health major and co-president of Terps for Hillary, represented for the group. Their main rhetoric addressed how not only is their candidate the most qualified for the position, but how she has also proven to be a great politician for all Americans, as well as forged great relationships abroad as Secretary of State.
Matthew Morris, junior mechanical engineering major and president of Terps for Trump, and Shubham Chattapadhyay, sophomore computer engineering and vice president of Terps for Terp, made up team Trump. Their main argument was the “intrinsic feeling that America has been going in the wrong path for the past few decades”, Chattapadhyay said. His supporters main arguments of the night were for stronger security, complete reformation of the healthcare systems, tax cuts for businesses so entrepreneurship and job growth can thriveand how Clinton is responsible for many of the failures in our country.
Chattapadhyay said his candidate’s policies will make for the strongest America.
“We would like to have the safest country for everybody so we can all get along,” he said.
Team Johnson, comprised of Chris Henderson, sophomore mechanical engineering major and member of Students for Liberty, and Yusuf Mahmood, sophomore economics major and president of Young Americans for Liberty. Their main arguments made the audience question, why we have to choose between a “brown-shirted fascist and corporatist war profiteer?”
Mahmood said he strongly believes Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson is a better option than Trump and Clinton. He said he realizes the state of Maryland is inevitably going to be a win for Clinton, but “the only vote that matters is a vote for Johnson … even if you are in a swing state you will at least not have blood on your hands.”
The debate questions ranged from the email scandal, to foreign policy to how to grow the job market for recent college grads. Team Clinton defended their candidate against her most recent media coverage. Lightstone said she was never indicted for them and “these scandals speak nothing to her character.”
Team Trump, while continuously slamming Clinton for her “criminal” acts against this country, strongly focused on how Trump can protect this country with stronger defense. Speaking on the refugees and immigrants to our country, Morris said many of them “are miseducated and do not see the value of our liberties.”
Team Johnson focused on all the war crimes Hillary has committed and outlined how their candidate will provide a safer, more economical way of running this country by not getting entangled in war, a philosophy Libertarians strongly believe in.
Kutzen retorted Team Johnson’s argument by saying Hillary does want to promote peace, especially in the Middle East, “and she knows where Aleppo is.”
Mahmood countered that Clinton doesn’t know all the names of the innocent people she has bombed.
While both Team Trump and Team Johnson picked on many of Clinton’s policies and decisions as a politician, Kutzen said to blame all the world’s problems on her is far fetched and added Clinton is far more progressive in promoting social justice as well as environmental stability.
Kutzen said Clinton is the only one providing solutions to climate change: “It’s not mentioned as a national security measure by any of these candidates.”
The debate turned to audience questions, which ranged from Trump’s sexual assault allegations to the ban on Muslims.
Responding to Trump quotes about women and the allegations he faces, Chattapadhyay said, “This is going go badly for me … I think that there are way more important things … there hasn’t been any proof … ”
This drew many boo’s from the audience. The audience erupted into applause when Kutzen said to defend this man’s actions is despicable.
After audience questions, each team said their closing statements about why their candidate is the best to choose on Nov. 8. Moderator Chuzhin thanked the audience for coming out to the mock debate and said while he recognizes most of the audience did not come in undecided, platforms like these are a great way to learn and hear your peer’s opinions.
Maryland Political Review will have fact-checks on the information brought up in last night’s debate later today.
Featured Photo Credit: Courtesy of DonkeyHotey’s Flickr account.
Allie Melton is a junior journalism major and can be reached at email@example.com.
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