Students participate in Democrat, Republican Debate

Cindy Costa, vice-chair to the RNC Rules Committee and SC Republican National committeewoman, speaks to students as to why she thinks Mitt Romney should win the presidency. Phil Noble, President of SC New Democrats, also participated in the debate. The Political Science Club hosted the event on Sept. 19. (Photo by Sarah Sheafer)

The Political Science Club hosted a debate last night with two prominent members of the Democratic and Republican Parties. Cindy Costa, vice-chair to the RNC Rules Committee and SC Republican National committeewoman, represented the Republican side with Phil Noble, president of SC New Democrats, representing the Democratic side.

Before students asked questions in a heated discussion session, the two speakers shared their case as to why their candidate should win the election. Noble explained how eight out of the 10 key swing states are now leaning toward President Barack Obama and commended him on his efforts concerning healthcare and student loans.

Costa used the opportunity trying to convince students that Obama’s policies have not worked. “If things don’t change, it’s going to be tough for you guys. You’re not going to have the same opportunities as we did. We need you on board this time,” Costa said. “Obama’s just an empty suit who can give a good speech.”

A student at the discussion brought up the concern surrounding biased media, and asked the speakers how students should cast their vote if they don’t know what sources to trust. Costa told the student to “get out of the media frenzy that is telling you Obama will win.”

Noble recommended students start up a political blog, because it improves their critical thinking skills by having others respond with either support or criticism. He also encouraged students to read and watch a variety of news sources. He said, “I think the most important thing is to find disparate sources. We’re so inclined to only listen to news that fits our opinion.”

While both speakers told students why their candidate should win, they also encouraged them to get involved no matter what party they supported. In general, the older-aged demographics tend to vote more. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, voter registration in South Carolina for those between the age of 18 to 24 was 54.6 percent in 2008 with voter turnout at 47.8 percent. These statistics are contrasted by the average voter registration at 72 percent and voter turnout at 63.4 percent.

“It’s about getting involved,” Noble said. “I’m a Democrat, so I obviously want you to vote Democrat, but ultimately I want you to just get involved.”

Mallen Urso, an intern for SC New Democrats who helped organize the event, said her goal for the debate was to get students more involved. “We talked about how the College isolates itself. (We wanted) students to experience politics closer up,” Urso said. “There’s a lack of political discourse on campus and it’s something we should talk about. There’s a presidential election in two months.”


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Sarah Sheafer is the editor-in-chief of CisternYard News. She is a senior, double majoring in political science and international studies with a focus in the Middle East.

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