In a District that is notorious for rocking back and forth between political parties, the only scheduled debate between President Katniss Everdeen (Liberty-D12), former President Cecelia Paylor (Civic-D8), Senator Rick Canth (Labor-D7), and Senator Sandra Morrison (People for Panem-D9) took place in District 4 today. Presidential debates, by tradition, are held in a swing district and only are held once per election cycle at a time agreed upon by all candidates.
The main difference from the last presidential debate: it isn’t two candidates against one, it’s everyone for themselves. Last debate, Katniss Everdeen and then-Governor Celia Oswald tag-teamed to push down then-President Cecelia Paylor, only attacking each other when prompted. This time around, no candidates seemed to ally with others, a trait about this election cycle that was widely expected. This gave the President an advantage in the debate.
Widely discussed topics such as the Panem-IANO War, District 14, partisanship, and the Everdeen and Paylor sets of reforms were discussed along with the candidates themselves.
President Everdeen was first attacked by former President Paylor, who said that she was tearing apart the country’s poor due to the President championing reforms that would repeal the Paylor reforms while “making new laws that are not good for the people of Panem.” The President then struck back heavily in her rebuttal, stating:
What Ms. Paylor just said is vastly untrue. Unemployment in Panem, in comparison to that of Panem under the Paylor administration, has gone much lower than it was ever before. Also, the amount of Panem citizens on welfare has decreased for the first time in Panem’s history under my reforms. To say that they have had no impact is a blatant lie that Panem citizens will reject at the polls. The reason for a repeal of Ms. Paylor’s policies was simple common sense, a trait that she seems to lack at times.
After that, Senator Morrison stated that she “was always against the land grab in Europe that made District 14,” having voted against it in the Senate. She attacked the President:
President Everdeen, while another district may be good for some, I charge that your intentions in such a grasp of European lands are purely political. Just look at District 14 now! It has a pure Liberty government, from the Governor to the Lieutenant Governor, from the State Legislature to the Senators and Representatives it sent overseas to the Panem Congress. This district, which is heavy in electoral votes, has no chance of swinging any way but towards a Liberty candidate for president. It is clear, at least to me, that you created this district purely so you would have a twenty electoral vote advantage for this election, a sturdier majority in Congress, and also a win for Secretary Oswald in the vice presidential election.
The crowd was widely shocked, as was President Everdeen. In her rebuttal, she responded gracefully, saying:
While Senator Morrison thinks that I’m simply trying to win this election in a way that would seem dishonest to the people of Panem, I must state that she has misunderstood. While I did negotiate to obtain land in Europe for the establishment of a new District, I did not make the first move on this. Panem’s State Department was approached by IANO officials first, who offered the land to Panem. I entered into the negotiations, attempting to limit the land price to a minimum to not put us into debt. The “land grab,” as the Senator from District 9 calls it, was purely for the expansion of Panem’s interests. No political thought was put into it, and the development of a strong Liberty Party with the capability of sweeping the elections in District 14 was something I had not planned upon, and it was only a nice surprise to my party.
Senator Rick Canth was next to jab at the President, specifically on the Panem-IANO War:
Mrs. President, though the Panem-IANO War was ultimately successful, I must point out the lives that were lost at the expense of unprepared military. Our borders, at that time, were not at maximum security, as they currently are. Why did it take a war to maximize our security against invasion? Why did it take deaths, both military and civilians, to protect Panem? These are questions that needed to be asked, and questions that need to be answered.
The President responded:
Though there were repeated threats towards Panem by the IANO, there was no reason to maximize security as the threats appeared to be bluffs. Yes, we were surprised, but our military fought valiantly in District 4, and I must remind you that the deaths were limited in that region due to how prepared our military actually was. The deaths due to the air raids were likewise limited due to our advance warning of the planned IANO attacks. To say that we were underprepared is an overstatement; my government did everything that we could.
Senator Morrison took the conversation elsewhere, moving on from the seemingly endless attacks on the President and onwards to the other nominees. Attacking former President Paylor, she stated:
Ms. Paylor, let’s face it: You are not the President anymore. Championing your own reforms seems to be the only positive tactic you have, considering how uneventful your presidency was. You must realize eventually that the time of the Paylor administration is over, and that Panem’s voters decided that in the last election and will easily show you that again this time around.
The former President, rather than promoting the good parts of her Presidency, chose to put the Senator in her place:
Senator Morrison, you speak of my negativity, but I feel that you are much worse about this. You have been given the opportunity to speak twice already at this debate, and you have not done much to prove to those listening and watching that you are actually suitable for the Presidency. You have only attacked me and the President, both in a very radical way. I can say for certain that such attacks will not be received well by the citizens of Panem, and that you have only proven so far that you are not a viable presidential contender.
Senator Canth responded to the former President:
Ms. Paylor, I must say that you are right about my colleague from District 9, but I must point out that what you have said is slightly hypocritical. You too have campaigned in a mostly negative way, and like you said, it is not befitting of a presidential candidate to campaign as such. I suggest that you and Senator Morrison both campaign in a way that has less to do with you and more so with the people of Panem, because right now, it seems that both of you are more obsessed with personal vendettas rather than the welfare of the citizens that will elect one of us.
Time ran out shortly after Senator Canth’s response, ending the presidential debate.
Polling after the debate was slightly surprising and showed that some candidates were rising higher.
Who do you think won the presidential debate tonight?
President Katniss Everdeen- 40 percent
Senator Rick Canth- 37 percent
Former President Cecelia Paylor- 15 percent
Senator Sandra Morrison- 8 percent
Who do you plan to vote for in the upcoming presidential election?
President Katniss Everdeen- 62 percent
Senator Rick Canth- 24 percent
Former President Cecelia Paylor- 9 percent
Senator Sandra Morrison-5 percent
The presidential poll was shocking after the debate, with former President Cecelia Paylor dropping from a 20-point lead over Senator Morrison, who was her nearest competitor in the last PFP poll, to single digits for the first time.. Senator Canth picked up the slack, taking the second place position after his smooth debate responses. Senator Morrison, who was originally placing third in most polls, now places in last place after her vicious attacks on the President and Paylor. The President only gained after what was seen as a debate win by most of the country, and as such gained in the polls by about eight points.