Delaware Debates to continue state’s bipartisan tradition
Since 2010, the Delaware Debates have showcased both Democrat and Republican congressional and statewide candidates in debates hosted by former CNN reporter and founder of the Center for Political Communication (CPC) Ralph Begleiter.
This Wednesday Oct. 17, Delaware’s candidates will take to the debate stage at Mitchell Hall once again. The CPC and Delaware Public Media are in partnership to broadcast the debates. It begins at 6:30 p.m. with House candidates Scott Walker and Lisa Blunt Rochester and continues with the Senate candidates, Tom Carper and Rob Arlett at 8:00 p.m.
Views on the debate and the process differ among political groups on campus. The College Democrats media director Alexa Adams believes one certain topic should be discussed.
“If they do hone in on a topic, they should maybe ask like what each candidate is going to do for their constituents of the State of Delaware,” Adams said. “Because they are U.S. Representatives, and U.S. Senators, but they are also representing Delaware.”
College Republicans president Daniel Worthington thought such a debate should have been done sooner to showcase the policy views of the major candidates in both parties prior to the midterm primaries.
“We never saw a debate where all four of them were up on stage,” Worthington said. He continued to explain that Delaware did not have the the opportunity, “in terms of hearing from every side of the spectrum.”
Adams disagreed with this notion but offered her perspective on the potential impact of the Delaware Debates for the candidates.
“The impact of the debate has itself, may not necessarily represent the candidates fully on what they stand for, and how prepared they are to run and hold office,” Adams said. “I think the debate though is a good time to ask important questions they [students] are concerned about.”
The increased polarized political climate in Delaware and throughout the United States continues to affect not just the candidate positions but also students on campus. Leaders of these political groups commented on the position of the candidates and the party throughout the state.
“[Lisa Blunt Rochester] has proven time again that Delaware is her priority. She has said she has been talking up and down the state in all three counties to see what issues are important to us,” Adams said.
Even with controversial federal nominees for the Republican Party, the moderate message of the past that has won elections still remains in some capacity.
“On the state level, I would generally say we still have those Mike Castle, Pete DuPont sort of Delaware Republicans getting elected and it shows that it is still a winning message,” Worthington said.
The CPC and the Biden Institute have been dedicated to the effort of bipartisanship, and both Adams and Worthington suggested the possibility of future events due to these efforts.
“I think College Democrats would be very open to doing things like bipartisan events, specifically relating to like get out to vote, because those are really important things no matter where you register for,” Adams said.
“We have a good opportunity here given our campus is apolitical as a whole, we have a great opportunity here to set a national example that we can still get along. Delaware up until recently has always done that,” Worthington said.
The Delaware Debates will likely continue to have an effect on Delaware elections. As CPC Director Nancy Karibjanian said on the Delaware Debates webpage, “Without question Delaware Debates 2018 will feature the premier debates of this election year.”
The university will continue to host bipartisan events like the Delaware Debates throughout the election season, as seen by the Make It Count voter registration campaign and the upcoming Living Room Conversation.
Worthington suggested looking at the bigger picture when it comes to partisan views on campus.
“The only difference when we go to see our names at a registration list, is that you say D and I say R,” Worthington said. “We are the same age, same region. I just think a lot of people would be surprised if they actually sat down and thought about it for a bit. We have a lot more in common than just this thing and maybe we could just get along once in a while.”