Mock Debate

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Jack Foley | jfoley17@radford.edu

This debate rivaled the action and most definitely the substance of the three past debates. On Thursday, October 27, 2016, Radford University’s Scholar-Citizen Initiative sponsored a mock presidential debate that was held in the Bonnie Auditorium. This mock debate was a simulation of the current presidential debates between Mr. Donald Trump and Secretary Hillary Clinton.

The event was carried out by students from two courses; Dr. Tanya Corbin’s political science course, The American Presidency, and Dr. Scott Dunn’s communication course, Political Communication. There were several aspects of this event which gave students the opportunity to execute the roles necessary to make this debate successful.

The debate itself was the final task after a long line of preparation for the candidate teams, and also other positions significant to the ultimate goal. The candidates were surrounded by advisors and strategists to ensure that they would be ready to confront their opponent using their policy positions. Candidate campaign teams were not the only critical roles; other groups provided structure, advertisement, and critique. These fundamental duties were given to the moderator and reporters to create questions, to promotors and producers to advertise and enhance the event and political commenters to provide a final assessment.

One hour of the tense informative debate started this evening off. The surrogate candidates for this debate were Kaleb Peterson, a junior at Radford University, as Mr. Trump and Mckenzie Meade, another junior here, as Secretary Clinton. One of the more challenging positions was the moderator. Eric Lyons, also a junior at Radford, was the moderator and kept the candidates to their allotted times and on the segment’s topic. These students demonstrated an exceptional job at using the candidate’s issue positions to inform and convince the audience. The proxy candidate’s jabs at each other followed the same line as the previous debates but did leave out the more personal attacks. They addressed both domestic and foreign policy and focused on issues ranging from the second amendment to interactions with China.

Following the debate were two fifteen minute segments. The first was a chance for the campaign teams to spin the message of the candidates in a favorable way. Reporters asked two members of each team questions on what was said in the debate. Following the “spin room” was a chance for three political commentators to analyze the candidates. The commentators spoke about missed opportunities by both candidates to criticize actions of the other. These students gave the final assessment on the debate and the candidate’s message.

The vast array of positions created a simulation that gave the students opportunities to push themselves. Teamwork and communication were necessary to make this mock debate possible. Coordination between the two classes provided a lesson in the importance of communication.