Even at a campus like Brigham Young University, there’s still plenty of difference of opinion when it comes to politics.
Counting down less than one week until the November 2020 election, BYU college Republicans and college Democrats held a debate Tuesday to discuss the issues facing voters in the 2020 election.
Why hold a debate at a conservative university in ruby red Utah County? Trenton Borders, a finance student at BYU who organizes debates for BYU Democrats, said “a lot of people don’t know the BYU Democrats club is actually the largest academics club on campus.”
Borders said, “One — they’re fun. I think two — a discussion of ideas is healthy, and three — I think there are people who are persuadable and who you can try to convince and appeal to bring them to your side.”
Due to the pandemic, the entire debate is being held without a live audience and broadcast over Zoom.
Moderators are taking extra care to keep things civil, aiming for a stark contrast to the first presidential debate.
“We’re going to be sticking hard to the time section and sticking hard to fact checking,” said Zeke Peters, a political science student at BYU and one of the debate’s moderators.
This debate’s topics include defunding the police, the national response to COVID-19 and Trump vs. Biden.
BYU Students Spencer May, Faith Hoggan and Scott Williams were on the Republican team and Naomi Julian, Abigail Ryan and Robert Lindsay debated for the Democrats.
The debaters covered the topics, making points, rebuttals, answering questions in a crossfire section and answering questions from the viewers on Zoom.
While the debate stayed cordial, several students were kicked from the Zoom chat for profanity and personal attacks.
The moderators did not declare winners or losers, but everyone walked away with a little more perspective.
Abby Ryan, a student studying political science at BYU, said she sees lack of cooperation between the two parties as a cause of political stalemate. “Personally, as a Democrat, I would like to see a lot more unity,” said Ryan.
“I think the most important thing is that we’re all aspiring after the same goal,” said Spencer May, a student studying political science at BYU. “We may have different ways of going about it, and the way to figure out those best ways to go about it is to engage in this public discourse.”