Ukraine, abortion, social media: QU Democrats, College Republicans host annual debate

Jack Muscatello

Krystal Miller and Zack Hochberg

The Quinnipiac University Democrats and College Republicans organizations came together to discuss pressing political topics through a debate in the Carl Hansen Student Center on Oct. 26 

This year was the fifth annual debate and has been moderated by Quinnipiac Political Science Association. 

Zachary Foti, a first-year political science major who represented the Republican side, said the topics discussed were valuable and pressing current issues. He said there were civil interactions on both sides of the debate. 

“I think it was a very well rounded debate overall, covering different aspects of issues in today’s world,” Foti said. 

When it comes to the Democrats’ side, Paul Cappuzzo, a senior political science and economics double major and president of the Democrats, said the debate showcased that both sides respected each other. 

“I think that you can still disagree with people and get along at the end of the day,” Cappuzzo said. 

Being able to find a common ground in today’s intense political climate is beneficial for both sides because they were able to have a successful discussion, said Miles Ellsworth, a junior accounting major and treasurer of the Republicans. Ellsworth went into the debate hoping to learn more about the other side and maybe even change his mind. 

“I think it’s nights like tonight, I think really gives us all hope for the future, and hope that we can really unite our country,” Ellsworth said. 

Nearly 8 in 10 Americans say Republican and Democratic voters cannot agree on basic facts according to 2018 data from Pew Research Center.

One of the topics debated was whether the U.S should support Ukraine in The North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The Democrats stated how NATO has helped fight conflicts and terrorism across the world, which is why it is essential for NATO to allow membership for Ukraine. 

“The primary objective of the organization is to guarantee the freedoms and security of its members political and military,” said Stephanie Suarez, a senior political science major and general board Liaison. 

The Republicans argued that allowing Ukraine into NATO would have the U.S. suffering great consequences for the economy and military. 

“Has the United States of America not helped enough to the Ukraine already?” said Thomas Taheny, a first-year economics major. “We have spent 54 billion dollars in defense of the Ukraine and the Russian invasion.” 

The parties were then questioned why there is a double standard for supposed safety when it comes to the issue of censorship. The Republicans discussed the issue surrounding social media and the First Amendment to the constitution, which deals with free speech. 

“This is essentially a tool that big tech companies are using and with influence by the government, to control who gets to have a platform of what they deem is appropriate speech and conduct,” said Kevin Alston, a junior business analytics major representing the Republican side. 

The Democrats’ argument centered around social media platforms are mostly private companies and regulate four types of speech: hate speech, obscenity, misinformation and harassment. Although the First Amendment protects people from government censorship, social media does not need to comply with the same standards. 

“Whether it be a celebrity like Kanye West or a political figure like Donald Trump, social media platforms have every right to censor what a person says when they are spreading obscenity,” said Taylor Byo, a first-year graphic and interactive design major. 

Both parties debated reproductive rights and sparked a more heated discussion. 

The Democrats argument focused on the notion that abortions will always happen and making them illegal creates an unsafe and possibly deadly situation for women across the country.

On the other hand, the Republicans argued that a federal abortion ban would help promote safe sex and that life begins at conception and not when the child is born.

The Democrats and Republicans also discussed prescription drugs and whether or not physicians should be more educated on the prices of the drugs they prescribe. While both sides agreed that the price of drugs was an important issue in the United States, the parties disagreed on how to fix it. 

Money spent on healthcare and related activities has reached $4.1 trillion in 2020, which is $12,530 per person, according to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services from 2020. 

Thomas Taheny, a first-year economics major, argued for the Republicans in favor of patient privacy. Taheny noted that it’s the physician’s job to recommend the best possible cure to a patient’s problem, but it’s the patient’s job to understand what drugs they can afford and to ask for other remedies if there are some available.

“I don’t believe it’s a physician’s place to feel the need to have to before every patient to have to look at their insurance, how affordable it is for each individual patient,” Taheny said. “I think that’s the patient’s privacy and if we are maintaining that it should be kept with the patient.” 

Nicholas Fizzano, a first-year political science major who represented the Democrats, said he wanted to have a healthy civil debate, which he feels was achieved during his discussion of pharmaceutical prices. 

“I just wanted to really hit on affordability and not only should doctors have to tell their patients about their affordability, but I want them to always be able to tell their patients you can afford this,” Fizzano said.