Clemson Dem vs. GOP Debate Possibly First of Many

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10/29/19: This piece has been updated with a correction on how the tiebreaker played out.

The Clemson College Democrats and Clemson College Republicans faced off in a debate last Tuesday that both groups hope is the first of many.

Sponsored by the Clemson Political Science Association, the debate covered four topics and was scored by three judges. College Democrats won the debate by split decision, winning the topics of healthcare and education, while College Republicans won the topic of the minimum wage. College Democrats also won immigration by tiebreaker after the topic was initially ruled a draw.

“We’re very happy with our performance. We came prepared, and I think we performed well tonight,” Clemson College Democrats President Ansley Birchmore told the TTO immediately after the debate.


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“The debate went incredibly well,” Clemson College Republicans Chair Alex Carter told the TTO, adding, “We made sure we had as much logic, as much statistics, as many points on our side going into this debate that we could use to basically take down the College Democrats.” The TTO spoke to both leaders immediately after the debate ended, before either side found out the results of the contest.

Carter was joined by William Corbin, Will Galloway, and Mike Migliaccio on the debate stage for the Republicans. Marcus Coppola, Hayley Flower, and Caroline Webb joined Birchmore for the Democrats. The judges scoring the event were Dr. Joshua King, Dr. Colin Pearce, and Clemson Debate Society Coach Lindsey Dixon.

Neither side really broke rank from their national counterparts, though a few lines of argument were still notable. On the issue of immigration, College Republicans chose to argue that the 14th amendment did not guarantee birthright citizenship to illegal immigrants, a position that has split the Republican party as recently as 2018. On healthcare, College Democrats refused to take up a defense of Medicare for All, which has become a more popular position in the Democratic party recently, instead opting to defend Obamacare.

Both groups said they looked forward to holding more debates in the future. “We would absolutely love to have another debate in the future,” Birchmore said. “We loved working with Clemson College Republicans and CPSA as well.” Carter teased that a future debate could center around the environment. “Personally, I’m incredibly hopeful that we’ll do it again,” Carter said. “I think we will, and I’m very much looking forward to it.”

Carter had to assemble a new debate team after the College Republicans went through a sudden leadership transition less than 48 hours before the debate.

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