The Labor Party presidential debate kicked off debate season tonight, showing the deep internal divisions within the Labor Party.
Four candidates appeared onstage tonight, comprising the multiple factions of the Labor Party:
- Former Transportation Sec. Joan Kindred: represents the mainstream liberal view of the Labor Party, championing the vision set forth by previous nominee Felicia Ren.
- Rep. Sylvenia Denton: represents the progressive wing of the Labor Party, championing universal healthcare, open borders, and is particularly critical of military intervention by the Mellark administration.
- Former Agriculture Sec. Walter Delta: represents the populist view of the Labor Party, championing the rights of “middle Panem”.
- Sen. Iris Canstrom: represents the centrist wing of the Labor Party, championing a vision akin to that of previous Labor nominee and ex-president Rick Canth.
All four of these candidates engaged in a war of words against the others, revealing the deep divisions that Labor is currently engaging in at this moment. Candidates were allowed two minutes per response plus an additional minute of rebuttal time under the condition that their name was mentioned by another candidate. Below are highlights of each of the candidates:
ON THE ECONOMY:
Question: The economy under the Mellark administration has certainly improved from that of the Canth administration. However, debate persists on this topic in regards to the sustainability of this boom and the repercussions of such economic policy. Is this a sustainable policy, and as president, what would you do in regards to economic policy to ensure that Panem never falls into a deep economic crisis again?
Kindred: “This economic boom is certainly not sustainable, and if we do not recognize it, the collapse will be worse than the last. The president’s fiscal policy is nothing more than a bandage slapped on a problem that needs surgery to fix. As president, I plan to reverse the tax cuts on businesses and raise overall taxes to a reasonable amount in order to ensure that our government is funded. We must further regulate our economy in order to ensure our stability. We must also ensure that no corporation or bank is too big to fail and we must make sure that no corporation is able to own our government.”
Denton: “Ms. Kindred is correct that it’s not sustainable, but Ms. Kindred also neglects to tell it like it is, as per usual. We are in dire straits here! If we continue down this path, we won’t have the money to fund our government. We won’t be able to keep our economy up and running without a government! We absolutely need to raise our tax rate, for the good of our people and for the good of our country. And as for the banks and corporations, we certainly need to reduce their influence. The amount of money that goes into our political system is a disgrace, and that’s why my campaign, unlike any other candidate’s up here, only is taking money from individual donors, not corporations.”
Kindred’s response: “In response, Representative Denton doesn’t tell it like it is. She tells us all that she is the only real candidate against the banks and corporations; that is false. I can say for a fact that I am not receiving money from any corporate entity. However, this talk of taxing businesses into oblivion is ludicrous. We cannot afford to destroy our business environment. We can, however, hold our officials accountable and ensure transparency.”
Delta: “The whole deal here is that our government isn’t by the people and for the people anymore. The citizens of this country, despite our so-called boom, aren’t feeling any better. I’ve talked to them. Hell, I don’t even feel better. As president, you can bet that I’ll take on these too-big-to-fail businesses, but you can bet your bottom dollar as well that I’m going to be working to make small businesses great again. The little guy has suffered far too much.”
Canstrom: “My plan is this: work to improve small businesses, raise the corporate tax by ten percent, and keep our tax rate low. That’s a winning strategy to economic growth.”
ON FOREIGN POLICY:
Question: President Peeta Mellark promised that as president he would tackle major foreign policy threats from the Oceanian Empire and other terrorist groups. However, he now faces the nuclear threat of the rebels in Greece and other entities that have stolen nuclear weapons from their stockpiles. Do you support military intervention in Greece, and what would you do in this situation as president?
Denton: “I would absolutely not intervene in Greece, and the President is out of his damn mind for asking Congress for intervention. Not only is it none of our business, it’s another war to involve our troops in. It’s another chance for the Liberty Party to please their warmongering donors. It’s another chance for the President to raise his approvals before we get to face off against him. As president, we’d stay out of it.”
Delta: “I would need to see all the information on the table and then make a decision. War is something no one takes lightly, and I’m not going to feel comfortable sending troops to war until I know for certain we need to.”
Canstrom: “I personally believe that the President was correct in asking for intervention, and I would have done the same. It’s far too risky to allow such dangerous weaponry from falling into the hands of a maniac.”
Kindred: “If we are going in for an extended period of time, I do not support intervention. If we are going in solely to collect the nuclear weapons and then leaving, I would support that decision.”
ON THE CANDIDATES’ RECORDS:
In this section, candidates were asked individualized questions and allowed three minutes for response. If a candidate’s name is mentioned in a response, they are not allowed to respond as with the rules for standard debate.
Question for Mr. Delta: Secretary Delta, you have a long history in Panem’s government, serving as a governor and as the Secretary of Agriculture. However, your opponents have campaigned against you on the grounds that you have little to no foreign policy experience. What is your response to this?
Delta: “Well, let me put it this way. As secretary, I was deeply involved with coordinating with the Commerce Department in order to get trade done with foreign nations. This idea that I’m not aware of what the United Kingdom or South Africa is like is simply dumb. In fact, I’d say that virtually all of our candidates this election are good with foreign policy- except for Ms. Denton. She’s probably the least qualified candidate here.”
Question for Sen. Canstrom: Senator Canstrom, your opponents have characterized you as an ineffective Senate leader who doesn’t fight for the platform of the Labor Party. What is your response to this?
Canstrom: “I’ve gotten a lot done as leader, far more than any of my opponents would care to know. However, they also don’t see the grueling process of the Senate. They have never had to deal with so many one-track minded people at once. As for their comments regarding my supposed disloyalty to the party line, that is their way of saying that I am bipartisan. I have not abandoned the Labor Party. In fact, I’m a staunch defender of its values, and I’m also a believer that anyone is welcome in this party. Bipartisanship should be a virtue, not a vice.”
Question for Ms. Kindred: Secretary Kindred, you have a long history in the Labor Party, having been the previous vice presidential nominee twice and the subject of constant speculation as to when you would launch your run for president. However, with that comes the attack that you represent a failed approach to Labor politics and that you are too much of the “Old Guard.” What is your response to this?
Kindred: “Just because I am a former nominee does not mean that I am not able to lead Labor into a new era. If you don’t remember, Walter Delta over there is also a former vice presidential nominee. Under this definition, he also is a member of the “Old Guard.” So is Iris Canstrom to my far left. The only person here who doesn’t represent the so-called “Old Guard” is Ms. Denton over there, and she’s hardly fit to be dogcatcher. Just because I was VP nominee to Felicia Ren does not mean that I can’t bring a new version of the Labor Party to voters. I can do that, and I will do that.”
Question for Rep. Denton: Representative Denton, as stated by two of your opponents here, you entered the race as the candidate with the least governmental experience. You are also attacked for what your opponents call “hot-headedness.” What is your response to this?
Denton: “My opponents would say that I eat babies in order to get themselves across the finish line. Look, experience isn’t what is needed for this job. We need someone with a solid head on their shoulders. My opponents are exactly what’s wrong with the party today. They are so incredibly out of touch with what voters are wanting in the Capitol. So excuse my passion and “hot-headedness,” if you will. I don’t think that the scum that resides in the Capitol is used to anything that isn’t a cold carcass.”
We took a flash poll following the debate regarding who won this debate and who lost it.
- Going into this debate, who were you planning to vote for in your respective district primary?
- Who do you think was the overall winner of this debate?
- Who do you think was the overall loser of this debate?
- Following this debate, who are you planning to vote for in your respective district primary?
The results are below.
Going into this debate, who were you planning to vote for in your respective district primary?
Sec. Kindred – 24 percent
Rep. Denton – 20 percent
Sec. Delta – 19 percent
Sen. Canstrom – 17 percent
Undecided – 20 percent
Who do you think was the overall winner of this debate?
Rep. Denton – 30 percent
Sec. Delta – 27 percent
Sen. Canstrom – 24 percent
Sec. Kindred – 11 percent
Undecided – 8 percent
Who do you think was the overall loser of this debate?
Sec. Kindred – 41 percent
Rep. Denton – 30 percent
Sec. Delta – 17 percent
Sen. Canstrom – 5 percent
Undecided – 7 percent
Following this debate, who are you planning to vote for in your respective district primary?
Rep. Denton – 22 percent
Sen. Canstrom – 21 percent
Sec. Kindred – 20 percent
Sec. Delta – 20 percent
Undecided – 17 percent
ANALYSIS: The results of this debate are largely inconclusive. Voters from the Labor Party have been left with the same divisions and less answers from their candidates than when they started. However, some details can be deduced from our polling.
First, Joan Kindred bombed with viewers. Her response to representing the “Old Guard” did not play as she had hoped. Instead, it played to Sylvenia Denton’s advantage with our focus groups. However, Denton still perturbs many in focus groups with her demeanor. Nonetheless, Denton’s performance tonight helped her, moving her to the top of our post-debate flash poll.
In addition, Sen. Canstrom and Sec. Delta had successful nights tonight. Both played well (Canstrom for her bipartisanship, and Delta for his overall folksiness and his talk of protecting the little guy) on screen with viewers, and both were bumped in the polls as a result. However, Canstrom had the most to gain, rising to second while Delta tied for third.
This debate, if nothing else, complicated matters. Now, polling shows a very tied field for the nomination with the leading candidate, Denton, only two points away from the last place candidates, Kindred and Delta. This race is anyone’s game at this point.