QU Democrats and Republicans debate political issues

Julius Millan, Contributing Writer

Quinnipiac University Democrats and Republicans debated each other on 10 issues on Oct. 20, in front of a packed crowd at the Center for Communications and Engineering (CCE), moderated by the Quinnipiac Political Science Association (QPSA).

The 10 issues debated were health care, climate change, border policy, vaccine mandates, social media regulations, the Texas Heartbeat Act, the riot on Jan. 6, minimum wage, business in COVID-19 and gun control. 

First-year business analytics major Miles Ellsworth focused his argument on minimum wage for the QU Republicans. (Chatwan Mongkol)

Senior philosophy and political science double major and QU Democrats President Haktan Ceylan said debates such as this are “a great way for students on both sides to express their viewpoints in a professional manner while maintaining respect for the other side.” Ceylan also noted the civility of both sides as they backed up their arguments with evidence throughout the debate.

QU Republicans President Morgan Morizio, a junior criminal justice major, was surprised about the high turnout of the event, as spectators filled CCE-114 to capacity well before the debate began at 8 p.m.

“I never could have expected the room to fill up so quickly,” Morizio said.

The debate began with Republican debater Jacob Wigington, a junior finance major, discussing health care.

“So, in the United States, we currently have a broken system because we have two massive things: massive government and massive insurance companies,” Wigington said.

Once Wigington finished his two minutes advocating for smaller government and the free market to take care of the issue, junior political science and economics double major Paul Cappuzzo responded for the Democrats.

“(The U.S.) claims that we’re exceptional and that no one can do what we do,” Cappuzzo said. “The truth is we are exceptional. Exceptional at allowing rapacious middlemen (and) profiteering people to rob the people of this nation blind.” 

Sophomore political science major Alyssa Arends debated about border policy for the QU Democrats. (Chatwan Mongkol)

Shortly afterward, Cappuzzo made reference to the U.S.’s shortcomings in the realm of health care, noting that according to the Commonwealth Fund, the U.S. ranked last among 11 high-income nations in health care outcomes.

Cappuzzo went on to advocate for a universal health care plan that would bring the U.S. up to standards with the other high-income nations while it saved more money than the status quo. 

“Universal health care would cost the country less,” Cappuzzo said.

Once Cappuzzo finished his two-minute response, he and Wigington responded to points the other made for 45 seconds each, before both sat down to applause from the crowd. 

This form of back-and-forth between debaters would become commonplace throughout the debate, as one key moment in the debate came while Sean Leggett, a senior computer information systems major, debated for the Republicans and Stephanie Suarez, a junior political science major and staff writer for The Chronicle, debated for the Democrats about social media regulations. 

While the two debated, Legget remarked that the Facebook whistleblower didn’t blow the whistle on “literally anything.” 

“We’ve known for years that Facebook and other social media companies and other social media platforms have been hoping that people don’t want to be looking at pictures of perfect people all the time,” Leggett said.

Suarez questioned why Congress hasn’t taken action if the information isn’t new, pointing out Leggett’s argument against taking any action against Facebook.

Another key moment came toward the end of the debate when the topic of gun control was discussed by Daniel Renter, a sophomore political science major, and Cappuzzo. Both held opposing views to each other, with Renter advocating for gun laws that were more lenient than the ones Cappuzzo advocated for. 

Cappuzzo used Japanese strict gun laws as an example, which resulted in “virtually no gun deaths.” In response, Renter agreed there should be background checks and that people who are convicted of a violent crime should not be able to buy a gun.

“Would that not disproportionately affect people of color… and deprive marginalized communities of their God-given rights to keep and bear arms?” Renter said.

When the debate came to a close, both sides’ debaters respectfully exchanged friendly words with each other and their opponents before taking a picture together with the QPSA moderators.

The same respect cannot be said about a few participants who watched the debate through Zoom and wrote offensive, derogatory and inflammatory comments that will not be given much attention in this publication. 

As of now, there are no further debates currently scheduled between the QU Democrats and QU Republicans.