Young Republicans versus Young Democrats Debate

Amanda Rooker (12) presents a strong opening statement about how the United States should handle ISIS and other terrorist organizations.

Katie Brubaker, Staff Writer

Tension, conflict, and an overwhelming sense of discontent regarding the candidates has marked the 2016 presidential race. At this year’s political debate at San Juan Hills High School, students discussed their party’s representatives and current national predicaments.

On November 2, only days away from the election date, SJHHS students filled the entirety of the main theater to observe the Trump vs. Hillary debate between the Young Democrats Club and the Young Republicans Club. As the participants went back and forth in discussion, the large student crowd would not remain silent and cheered on their favored party.

Lucy Collins of the Young Republicans Club was extremely pleased with the enthusiastic crowd.

“It was awesome to see how many people are interested in politics, especially since this is an election year. It’s important that people are listening to both sides of debates rather than just making opinions that aren’t based on facts,” said Collins.

The first topic of discussion was illegal immigration primarily from Mexico. Here, there was great opposition between the two parties. While the Democratic students advocated for immigrants coming into the U.S. and expressed support for welcoming them into the country, Republican students felt strongly that security should be increased at California’s South borders and that Trump’s idea of a wall should be carried out–they added thoughts about the plan to have Mexico fund this project.

Elle Henricksen of the Young Democrats Club expressed how she and the rest of her team felt both legal and illegal immigrants should be handled presently.

“First, we need to address the people that are already here. We need to bring illegal immigrants out of the shadows and give them access to citizenship. We need to integrate them into the economy with standard wages and make them liable for paying for taxes and contributing to the social security systems. Most importantly we need to promote humane action by only deporting immigrants who pose a violent threat to public safety,” argued Henriksen in the debate.

For student Mika Astono, member of the Young Republicans Club, the topic of immigration was not only a serious matter, but a personal one. His primary frustration was not with immigrants, but specifically those who came here illegally.

“I came here legally. I personally know the process of application to be long and frustrating. It nearly took ten years, so when illegal immigrants come into the country and are forgiven without going through their due process, it’s just wrong,” said Astono.

After a long discussion regarding immigration, the second topic brought up was the war being fought in the Middle East. The primary focus of the debate was on the extremist militant group, ISIS. While both teams felt that action and change are essential, the Republicans felt that the current approach being taken by President Obama is overall an ineffective and incompetent one.

Amanda Rooker of the Young Republicans Club contributed to the debate by expressing her party’s plead for a new, refined approach to the growing threats in the Middle East, quoting the plan of presidential nominee Donald Trump.

“In 2014 Isis was operating in some seven nations. Today, they are fully operational in 18 countries. Aspiring branches of six more which makes it a total of 24 and many believe there is many more than that. The situation is likely worse than the public knows. A new congressional report reveals that the administration, the current administration, has downplayed the growth of Isis. With 40% of surveyed analysts saying that they experienced efforts to downplay findings. In short, the Obama/Clinton foreign policy has unleashed Isis, destabilized the middle east, and put the nation of Iran which chants death to America in a dominant position of aspiring power,” Rooker said.

The last topic discussed was police brutality and how to resolve increasing violence. In this regard, there was extreme opposition between the two parties. Members of the Young Democrats Club recognized the problem of police officer racial biases and felt that in order to eliminate the problem, America must follow Clinton’s ideals of strengthening the relationships between the law enforcement and communities.

Republican party representative, Lucy Collins, felt that racial prejudices in the police force have been formulated by the left side and the media, together fueling the war on cops.

“The false narrative of systematic police racism is tricking people into believing they are victims and they are reacting violently. We need to look at the facts,” said Collins.

In the final moments of the debate, the moderators gave both parties a moment to express their closing statements about their favored candidate.

A democratic party member, Madison Bauman, explained to the audience that she feels Hillary is the superior candidate not only because of her policies, but because of her immense experience as the Secretary of State and senator. “She is more than qualified for this position,” said Bauman.

To secure her team’s argument, Bauman finished her statement by stating why she feels Trump has no business being in the presidential office. “He is not a politician. He may be a businessman, but he has gone bankrupt four times” said Bauman.

In the Young Republicans Club’s final statement, they explained that by electing Clinton, the nation will be harmed due to her breaking the constitution and that she would be an ineffective leader.

When asked why Trump should be president, Alyssa Mitchell of the Young Republicans Club was adamant about his qualification as the American leader. “Trump is better because he is a businessman; he knows how to run an economy, he knows how to work with people, and he has gotten to know the American people,” said Mitchell.

Having political debates between students of different parties is unique to SJHHS. Lucy Collins of the Republican party feels that not only is it beneficial for the school to put on the Democrat v. Republican debates, but it is imperative for the student body’s education.

“The original reason for school was so that we could have an informed electorate. Since seniors are 18, they are able to vote. If they are researched on these topics by the time they get to college, it will reduce the level of indoctrination they will receive from their professors.  If they have already made their own opinions and can already back them up with reasoning, they will not simply be influenced by other people’s opinions,” said Collins.