BYU College Democrats and Republicans clashed over whether President Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden is more fit for office in a debate between the two clubs.
The debate was held over Zoom on Tuesday, Oct. 27 — one week before Election Day. BYU students debated Trump’s and Biden’s merits and shortcomings and discussed whether Trump is bad for democracy. Debaters also argued over the president’s economic track record and both candidates’ plans for the future. In addition to presidential candidates, club members debated defunding the police and COVID-19 restrictions.
Robby Lindsay, a senior studying political science and a Democrat, called Trump a “threat to our democracy.” He mentioned Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney’s vote to convict Trump on abuse of power during the president’s impeachment trial. Even though Romney supports conservative policies, he stands against Trump because he has a conscience, Lindsay said.
“Look at history, look at other countries. Democracy is not set in stone. We have to fight to preserve it,” he said.
Republican Scott Williams, a sophomore studying political science, said he’s had serious issues with Trump in the past, but it’s abundantly clear that the president is the superior candidate to Biden. “Love Trump or hate him, there are people who love him. In my experience, I have yet to meet a Democrat who just loves Joe Biden — only those who hate Trump.”
Williams brought up the U.S. economy prior to the pandemic, referring to low unemployment and an increase in wages and GDP. “One of the greatest American economies ever overseen was overseen by and directly attributable to Donald Trump.”
Lindsay said that other than tax cuts, Trump doesn’t have a plan for the economy next term. “Trump frankly doesn’t get anything done. He doesn’t have a plan for anything.”
He said Biden has a reasonable plan to deal with climate change, while Trump isn’t going to do anything about it.
Another issue in the election is the candidates’ tax plans. Biden said he won’t raise taxes on people who make less than $400,000 a year. Lindsay argued that this plan was realistic. Williams countered this and mentioned Biden’s plans to repeal Trump’s tax cuts.
Club members also argued whether defunding the police is a good idea. Defunding the police has been a hot topic of debate due to police brutality, as seen in the nationwide protests following George Floyd’s death.
Spencer May, a Republican, was opposed to defunding the police and said they need to be better assisted and funded. “How can we expect police to do more with less?”
Democrat Naomi Julian is a sophomore from Costa Mesa, California, studying public health. She said police departments need “reform and redirection.” Democrats aren’t pushing for the complete disbandment of law enforcement, but redistribution of money towards social workers.
Another debate topic was the country’s COVID-19 response. Abigail Ryan is a sophomore from Rapid City, South Dakota, studying political science and women’s studies and is a Democrat. She said more jobs and lives will be lost in the long run without strong restrictions. “Ultimately, the path to economic stability begins and ends with ensuring public safety and health. The only way to save the economy is by flattening the curve,” she said.
Faith Hoggan, a Republican freshman majoring in political science, said the government has overstepped its bounds and that shutdowns have caused an increase in mental health issues. “It is time to say enough is enough and take our country and our freedom back.”