Which Republican won? Debatable

Mock Con teams up with Fox News Channel to sponsor debate viewing at W&L

Caroline Saltzman

Ever since the first televised presidential debate in 1960 between Kennedy and Nixon, debates have developed into a touchstone of the American political society. The Republican and Democratic primary debates are underway.

On the night of Nov. 10, the fourth Republican primary debate was screened in Hillel House. Fox News Channel, sponsored the viewing and partnered with the Mock Convention team. Even on a busy weeknight, 74 students ventured to Hillel to watch.

  Emma Deihle, ‘16,  a student representative for Fox News Channel, worked with the news conglomerate to bring the debate to Washington and Lee’s campus.

“Fox News Channel sponsored this event as a way of promoting its brand at W&L,” Deihle said. “It [also] hosted other debate viewing parties across the nation at different college campuses.”

The main debate included presidential hopefuls Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, John Kasich and Jeb Bush. Students were given pizza, which they ate while discussing predictions for how the debate would unravel. They also had the opportunity to purchase some Mock Con memorabalia.

Many students around campus, especially those who attended the viewing party, are up to date with the political standings. And with Mock Con around the corner, many students are looking to become as informed as possible. This screening gave the W&L student body a great chance to become tuned in.

“I’ve watched all of the debates so far,” Rachel Gallagher, ‘18, said.  “I’m really glad we’re getting together as a big group at Washington and Lee to do this, I think it brings the community together.”

Although it was a Republican debate, there was a strong attendance on the part of Democratic students as well. Kayla Sylvester, ‘17, and Morgan Maloney, ‘19, were among those students who identify as Democrats present at the screening.

“We’re on the executive team of the College Democrats, and we really want to incorporate with College Republicans and Mock Con,” Sylvester said. “It’s just a fun way to have a bunch of people with different ideas in one space doing something fun and informative.”

“Watching politics, talking about politics, together, is inherently social,” Maloney added. “Students were able to do just this, sharing their views and opinions with each other.”

Washington State Chair Jake Glancy, ‘16, attended the event, eager to see how the evening unfolded.

“In my opinion, we saw the beginning of the end of the outsiders in the Republican Party,” Glancy said. “The substantive debate showed that Trump and Carson do not know much when it comes to actual public policy, and I think this will hurt them both moving forward.”

The debate season is among us, and the nation has six more confirmed Republican and four Democratic debates to come.

“I have never hosted a debate viewing party before and in my time at W&L I’ve never been invited to attend one,” Deihle said. “I haven’t gotten assigned to host another one, but if I do there will be another.”