“College Democrats and College Republicans Debate Over Hot Button Topics”

College Democrats and College Republicans held a debate on March 6 in Memorial Union discussing each of their views on gun control, education and allocated budget, and the Medicaid expansion plan. The debate was hosted/moderated by The Zou Feed and fact-checked by TAPP (Tigers Against Partisan Politics).


Both of the parties opening statements for gun control touched on topics such as 9/11 and shootings in the inner city of Chicago. The Democrats were chosen by coin toss to speak first on gun control.


Syed Ejaz, Vice-President of College Democrats, explained their views including having strict background checks; psychological and criminal checks at the minimum, installing Biometric Recognition technology on the grip of guns, only allowing the registered owner to use it, and initiating a buy back program to buy back privately owned guns without the Biometric Recognition technology installed. The Democrats also said they would like to set a limit on how many bullets are allowed in each magazine, however, there would be no limit on how many magazines one could buy.


Craig Arnzen on the Republican side responded with, “that biometric process is just not going to happen.” They were asked how far can regulations go without infringing on the 2nd Amendment and the Democrats responded saying their proposed regulations are well within the boundaries of the second amendment when the Republicans said that the regulations have, “gone far enough.” Arnzen followed by saying he admires the Swiss’ gun ownership rate – roughly 97% and continued on to say, “an armed society is a protected society.”


The moderators asked the Democrats how they planned to fund their programs and regulations; meanwhile, Arnzen was on his iPhone and writing down some figures. While Ejaz was answering the question by saying they would be funded by the local government, the figures he was writing down was the national debt at the exact moment which he then held up to the 40-ish spectators which led him into his argument as to why we, in fact, do not have the funds to support such programs and regulations.


The debate then moved onto the budget for education and education itself, more specifically education in Missouri. The College Republicans Secretary Courtney Scott opened this topic by stating that Missouri schools were ranked 41st out of the 50 states and given a grade C. Their platform included teacher tenure reform and an improvement of school choice. They believe that kids should be able to choose where they want to go to school but the Democrats quickly shot that idea down by saying if that were the case, some schools would be completely over-capacity while others would simply not have enough students to run. The Democrats continued by saying teachers pay should not be linked with their classroom performance because the performance if partially due to the characteristics of the students in the class that the teacher is unable to change or improve.


The debate then moved onto Medicaid where the College Democrats President Emily Waggoner took the first stab.  She stated that they support the expansion plan because it saves money, it adds thousands of jobs, and it would increase the amount of people covered by Medicaid. Republicans Chair, A.J. Feather, surprisingly stated that they, too, support the expansion plan.