Debate team hosts Democratic primary debate watch party

Democratic candidates and top political issues were discussed before livestreaming the debate

Anna Owsley, Mill Valley News editor in chief

Students and parents enjoyed pizza, a guest speaker and the livestreaming of this year’s third Democratic primary debate at the debate team’s viewing party on Thursday, Sept. 12. 

Political Science professor Mona Lyne at the University of Missouri – Kansas City set the stage for the debate by answering questions from debate teacher Sohail Jouya prior to the livestreaming. Lyne stresses the importance of getting students engaged in politics early on and partaking in valuable discussion. 

“People just become more informed about what the choices are,” Lyne said. “I know most of [these students] are probably too young to vote yet, but it’s never too early to start learning about elections and getting a feel for how different candidates try to present themselves and what kind of candidate you like.”

Sophomore Taylor Doyle felt she benefited from Lyne’s explanation of today’s current politics among the democratic party and specific candidates. 

“When I watch other presidential debates, sometimes I get lost or confused on the candidates’ strategies,” Doyle said. “Having a political scientist like Mona Lyne was very important to my understanding [of the debate].”

Before the debate was shown in the little theater, the floor was opened to parents and students to comment and ask Lyne questions, which debate teacher Sohail Jouya saw as an educational experience.

“Having somebody who’s obviously an expert in their field helps bring credence to the activity in the event that we hosted and offered the opportunity for parents and students alike to ask questions that they may have had about candidates,” Jouya said. 

Doyle feels that events like the watch party are beneficial in creating one’s political voice and improving one’s engagement in political discussions. 

“Being an American citizen, it is so important to be educated on politics. We need more students to start getting involved in politics so we can have a voice. This is our country, we need to have our voices heard,” Doyle said. “If you aren’t updated on politics, then you won’t be taken seriously when you are voicing your opinion. This event taught me more about the Democratic candidates, so I now can have an educational discussion about their policies.”

Jouya was pleased by the amount of student and parent engagement, especially the light it shone on the debate team’s educational value.

“I think it kind of opens our eyes to the importance of competitive academic debate, how it makes a serious palpable impact in students’ lives,” Jouya said. 

Doyle gave her final thoughts on the debate itself. 

“I thought the debate was very interesting. I wish there were more talk on topics that are conversional within the democratic party, like illegal immigration tolerance,” Doyle said. “I think Kamala Harris was amazing. Her strategy was very interesting. She knows she doesn’t have as good of a chance as Biden, as of right now, to become the Democratic nominee, so she is using her time to criticize Trump.”


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