Republican, Democratic and Libertarian Student Delegates Discuss Election’s Key Issues
- Oct. 25, 2012
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For two students at the University of Kansas, this presidential election is about more than choosing between Republicans and Democrats; it’s about rejecting a two-party system they believe to be unjust.
“The two-party system has failed us,” said David Conway, a member of KU Students of Liberty. “If you vote for either the Democratic or Republican candidate, then you are voting for Goldman Sachs, because they are the biggest donor for both Romney and Obama.”
The Dole Institute of Politics’ Pizza and Politics Program held a student debate at the Kansas Union today featuring student members of the Republican, Democrat and Libertarian parties. Conway, and fellow Libertarian Lara Jeffery joined Republicans Lexie Clark and Alex Hyler, and Democrats Joey Hentzler and Sydney Ragsdale to take part in the debate.
The students discussed many important issues for this election, including the economy, and the role of the federal government in health care and social issues.
“We don’t need a big government,” Clark said during a discussion about the deficit. “We need an efficient government.”
The government has too much of a role in the economy and in health care, Clark said, and these decisions should be left up to the states.
Jeffery disagreed, arguing that people should make these decisions by themselves and for themselves.
“Individual choice should be left to the individual,” Jeffery said. “These choices should not be in the hands of the federal government or the states.”
Jeffery and Conway agreed with the student Republicans that the deficit is one of the biggest problems the country faces.
“The deficit is a moral problem,” Conway said. “Past generations have left us with unbelievable debt. Now, we can pay that debt, or we can pawn it off on our children. I don’t think we should pawn it off on our children.”
Conway went on to argue that deregulation and cutting taxes is what stimulates the economy and creates jobs.
However, the Democratic students disagreed, arguing that investing in education and infrastructure is the best way to grow the economy and foster the middle class, and that the free market does not regulate itself.
“Society is much too complex to not have government regulation in the economy,” Ragsdale said. “Just look at Wall Street. It’s easy for people to want to take more than they deserve when they don’t see other people suffering.”
On the issue of health care, the Republicans and the Libertarians agreed that The Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare” is costly and intrudes on individual liberties of choice.
However, the Democrats argued that the Affordable Health Care Act would benefit many people who otherwise would have been turned away from health insurance due to “pre-existing conditions.”
“In response to the government choosing your health care, well, there already is someone choosing your health care that you don’t like, and that is the health insurance industry,” Ragsdale said. “Obamacare makes sure that people with pre-existing conditions, like my teacher who had breast cancer, don’t get turned away.”
Ultimately, although the students disagreed on a variety of issues, they all talked about the importance of civic duty, being informed, and participating in the democratic process.
“I’m not going to tell you to vote for Gary Johnson, Mitt Romney, or Barack Obama,” Conway said. “But I will just tell you to vote for your own morals and values.”