UPUA Debate Offers Drama, Little Substance
Presidential candidate David Adewumi had a good point when he said that most of the student body wasn’t attending last night’s debate, and that the majority of people who were had already made up their minds as to who they were voting for. And he was right: clearly divided sections of supporters indicated their choice by the brightly-colored shirts they wore.
Unfortunately, this is the nature of political debates. Objective discourse is nowhere to be found. The UPUA doesn’t have the luxury of broadcasting the debate to a wider TV audience featuring undecided voters. And even if they did, let’s be honest; who would watch? Each ticket’s cheering section began applauding its candidates’ answers early into the debate. During an opponent’s answer, sometimes these sections would even murmur uneasily or borderline catcall their opponents, giving the debate an atmosphere somewhere between the British Prime Minister’s Question Time and an episode of Jerry Springer.
It was TJ Bard’s race to lose going into the debate, with Travis Salters not trailing him by much. However, he managed to lose a few friends when talking about lobbying, saying that in that arena, students, alumni, and administrators all “failed.” Salters took advantage to go after Bard for not attending the tuition rallies both in Harrisburg and here on campus.
Being clear of the immediate drama gave the two farther-behind tickets opportunities to more calmly outline their platforms. Joe Grimes and Tyler Wentz talked about using PASS as a way to circumvent the potential problems of UPUA lobbying, while Adewumi and Pisupati talked mostly ideologically about putting students before politics. While the two front-runners were busy going after each other, these two tickets took the opportunity to shed some light on their campaigns, which made for much better discussion.
Though the debate will probably affect the results of today’s election very little, each candidate returned to the fact that the voters will ultimately prove who’s right in the end.
To read more about last night’s debate, including our live coverage of each question, check out our live blog from last night here.