Political clubs unite to educate student voters

Newswire photo by Maddy Goodman | The Interclub Political PlatForum aimed to educate students about different parties’ views on issues relevant to the 2018 midterm elections. 

The Interclub Political PlatForum held on Oct. 25 aimed to educate and invigorate student voters prior to the midterm elections. Hosted by College Democrats, College Republicans (XUCR), Political Science Club, Xavier Socialists and Young Americans for Liberty (YAL), the event provided a controlled, respectful environment for students to hear political opinions that they may not be familiar with.

This is the third time that College Democrats, XUCR, Political Science Club and YAL have collaborated for the event. However, this year’s event was the first to include the Xavier Socialists, who were granted conditional club status in October.

A moderator from Political Science Club asked questions and fielded queries from the audience to a panel consisting of two representatives from each of the other four clubs. Questions ranged from general policies such as tax cuts to topics closer to home, including Ohio Issue 1 and the Students for Life chalk incident.

The event was not designed to be a debate and aimed to avoid any pettiness among the clubs’ representatives.

As the evening transitioned to audience questions, however, there were notable snubs against the two conservative clubs.

When addressing the panel with a question of how each party approached freedom of speech, an audience member alluded to President Donald Trump’s habit of lambasting the news media. The question was met with applause and cheers from the crowd.

In addition, referring to the left-wing group known as “anti-fascists,” or “antifa,” as a domestic terrorist group while answering a question about polarized America earned YAL President Anne Marie Coriale a middle finger from an audience member, which she addressed head-on from the stage.

When asked about the exchange, Coriale maintained the individual’s right to express themselves as they wished and added that she was not upset. “It wasn’t damaging, it was a finger,” she said.

XUCR President Cole Branham said he thought the event was successful despite those moments.

“I think for the most part it was civil,” Branham said. “There were some jabs here and there that weren’t as kind or civil as they should have been, but overall I think that we accomplished what we set out to do.”

College Democrats President Sam Peters and Xavier Socialists co-founders John Duque and Daniel Bowling all agreed with Branham that the event was civil overall.  Duque also admitted he could have been more civil.

“I actually struggled myself with a little bit of emotion just because I feel so strongly about some of the issues that we’re talking about,” Duque said. “I tried to stay as cordial as I could, and I feel like, at times, I might have broken through that.”

Coriale, the main organizer of the event, expressed satisfaction that there were no direct attacks on ideology and representatives were engaged and present.

“The fact that we had representatives from each club up here talking… was absolutely phenomenal because one of the biggest problems facing this country is that nobody listens to each other,” Coriale said. “Coming together in a situation like this where we all are there to listen to each other so that everybody else can listen to each other… because of that, the event was successful.”

By: Heather Gast | Campus News Editor