The Civic Party held their first presidential debate, and it broke barriers in the political world.
The Civic Party, for one, has never held a debate before nor has it had a contested primary up to this point. The previous nominee each election was former President Cecelia Paylor, who founded the party. She stepped aside this year after multiple failed attempts to regain the office she once held. This year, her VP nominee, Samuel Trenton, faces off against firebrand Sen. Patrick Newsom for the nomination. Trenton brings experience to the table, while Newsom has gained a cult following with the base of the party.
The party’s debate last night set a record for viewership, reaching over thirty million viewers across Panem’s media. This is the highest viewership for a primary debate of any party in Panem’s electoral history, with the previous record holder being the first Liberty presidential debate during the last cycle. This record shows an unprecedented amount of enthusiasm for the Civic primary, despite historically abysmal polling.
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 the debate:
ON THE ECONOMY:
Question: While the economy has improved since the beginning of the Mellark administration, both of you have criticized the economic policies used to encourage financial growth. Explain why, and explain what changes your potential administration would implement.
Trenton: “It’s simple: President Mellark has left behind any normal citizen of Panem. Sure, the economy is better for our big corporations, but go ask any Panem citizen if their wallet feels any bigger. My plan would ensure that corporations are held accountable for the monstrosity of a recession that occurred and further propel growth for our middle and lower class citizens. Everyone needs a break.”
Newsom: “As was previously said, we’ve left our citizens behind. The President campaigned in the last election on dropping the corporate tax rate. Why? Because ninety percent of his campaign donations come from big business, who would benefit from such a decrease. He did cut taxes, but the effects of those cuts have been minimal for any citizen who doesn’t make millions of dollars. We need to raise our corporate tax once again, ensure through extensive regulation that Panem corporations cannot allow for such a disaster such as this past recession to occur, and we need to implement a tax system that actually makes sure our richer citizens pay their fair share.”
ON FOREIGN POLICY:
Question: President Mellark has faced increasing controversy over his decision to seek boots on the ground in the region of Greece following threats of nuclear proliferation. What would you do as president to counter the new nuclear threat and to deal with the Greek conflict?
Newsom: “I’ll answer this very quickly. Number one: to counter the nuclear threat, I think that we should counter it with a broad coalition of nations and with the goal of completely denuclearizing this planet. That means every nation with weapons, including us, should rid themselves of nuclear weapons. Number two, the Greek conflict is not ours to fight. We should not intervene in a foreign nation’s affairs.”
Trenton: “This is where I disagree with my opponent. We should not dismantle our nuclear stockpile. There’s no incentive to do so. In fact, we fought a war against a group of nations that sought to do that for us, so let’s not become the IANO and try to denuclearize the world against the world’s wishes. We need to focus on finding the nukes- with a coalition- and getting them back into stable hands. As for the second point, we have no reason to be in Greece beyond the weapons. We should withdraw at that point.”
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 Sec. Trenton: Secretary Trenton, your opponents and critics have labeled you as a stand-in candidate for Cecelia Paylor, claiming you are no different and that you are destined to lose in the same way as her. What is your response to these attacks?
Trenton: “My name is not Cecelia Paylor. While she’s a dear friend, she’s got very different views from me, starting with foreign policy for one. As for this election, every candidate is different. Everyone campaigns in their own way. I’m not running for vice president, I’m running for president.”
Question for Sen. Newsom: Senator Newsom, your opponents have attacked you for being inexperienced and radical. What is your response to this?
Newsom: “My opponents pick on my experience because they have nothing else to run on. That’s right: I haven’t been a standard-bearer for this party for twenty years. That’s why I’m here. That’s the point. This party literally has been represented by the same wing that Samuel Trenton represents today for four elections. We have lost four elections with this wing of the party, and we desperately need a new face. So, sure, come after me about my inexperience. I’d say that not being known in this case would be a plus. As for ‘radicalism’, that’s just another way of the establishment attempting to discredit true reform of the Civic Party. It has always appeared that the leadership of this party is intent on talking a big talk, only to take the easy way out. It was only after my insistence with my former colleague, Sadie Myers, that we create a true force of opposition in the Senate and House by banding together with the Labor Party. Instead of opposing conservative policies, Secretary Trenton was content to push conservative policies with the Everdeen and Canth administrations. So let me be clear: there’s one choice here that actually represents change, and that would be me. If you want to keep on this disastrous path for our party, Secretary Trenton would be more than happy to guide you down that path to get his lofty appointment in the next Mellark administration.”
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. Trenton – 54 percent
Sen. Newsom – 40 percent
Undecided – 6 percent
Who do you think was the overall winner of this debate?
Sen. Newsom – 78 percent
Sec. Trenton – 16 percent
Undecided – 6 percent
Who do you think was the overall loser of this debate?
Sec. Trenton – 83 percent
Sen. Newsom – 14 percent
Undecided – 3 percent
Following this debate, who are you planning to vote for in your respective district primary?
Sen. Newsom – 48 percent
Sec. Trenton – 39 percent
Undecided – 13 percent
ANALYSIS: This debate definitely provided a major setback to Secretary Trenton’s campaign. While he had been riding high prior to this debate with a lead in the most recent poll of fourteen points over Senator Newsom, Trenton crashed and burned in this debate, providing Civic voters with a preview of what could come in a future presidential debate. Particularly bad was his handling of his answer on his connection to former President Paylor, which only muddled the issue and showed complete ineptitude according to our focus group, who described the moment as “completely unpresidential.”
Meanwhile, Newsom shined, particularly with his answer on what his critics say about him. This debate rejuvenated the senator’s campaign, bumping him to a nine point lead over Trenton (which amounts to a twenty-three point bump in the polls overall). Our focus group particularly appreciated the fresh ideas and how he was intent on going a step further than what the Civic platform historically has said.
Make no mistake, a major shift happened here today. Newsom proved that his rallies aren’t just show business. Trenton, however, should be very worried right about now.