PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE: Mellark brings A-game, Roydon and Jones excel, Canstrom and Newsom flounder

The lone presidential debate, the second of two general election debates held this election season, was held last night in conjunction with the Panem Debate Council and The Panem Free Press.

Candidates that competed were required to meet standards set by the PDC, of which five candidates met the qualifications:

  • President Peeta Mellark (Liberty Party-District 12)
  • Senator Iris Canstrom (Labor Party-District 9)
  • Senator Patrick Newsom (Civic Party-District 3)
  • Governor Kaitlyn Jones (Conservative Party-District 11)
  • Senator Julie Roydon (Centre Party-Capitol)

Topics of the presidential debate were separated into two sections: domestic policy (including economic policy) and foreign policy. Questions were fielded from the audience in a townhall-style format moderated by former White House press secretary Polaris Septrix. If a candidate’s name was invoked during another candidate’s response, the first candidate was allowed to respond.



Below are excerpts from the debate proceedings, based on subjects.



ON DOMESTIC /ECONOMIC POLICY:



Question: “Senator Canstrom, the economy of Panem has been on the rise since four years ago, when a crippling recession hit during President Canth’s term. However, you have criticized the President and his administration for their approach to tax reform and measures that were taken to reduce regulation on industries. Please explain why.”

Senator Canstrom: “My criticism of the president and his administration lies with the long-term effects of such policies. By allowing corporate interests into the heart of our government, President Mellark acts contrary to the will of the people. They did not elect us for lobbyists to come in and tell us how much they wanted cut off of the corporate tax rate to help corporations. The people elected us in order to represent their interests, not big business.”

President Mellark’s response: “Now, Senator Canstrom, you know that what you said is inherently false. First off, the people elected me in what was the largest electoral landslide ever in a contested federal election based on my platform. I campaigned that I would decrease people’s taxes across the board, which I have done. I campaigned that I would decrease the corporate tax rate, which I have also done. Those ideas did not come from lobbyists. They came from my campaign for president, and they are promises to the people of Panem that I have kept. Furthermore, the tax code was far more successful at benefiting large corporations before I reformed it. The loopholes were excessive. Through fixing our tax code, we managed to find a solution that ensured financial and ethical integrity while restoring Panem’s economy.”



Question: “Governor Jones, much like your running mate Delia Sutherland, you expressed discontentment with the Mellark administration, stating that you had hoped that the new administration would recognize the extreme size of Panem’s government and seek to make it more efficient. What could be done to fix these issues?”

Governor Jones: “First off, I want to note that while I was disappointed with the administration’s approach, they have done much to downsize the government’s role. However, when I become president, we need to look into ensuring that cabinet-level agencies are efficient and not turning into bureaucracies. So many people get caught up in red tape these days, whether it’s applying for government permits or a passport or anything to do with the federal government. By reducing the sheer number of agencies, ensuring that the government is running efficiently rather than politically, we will see an easier life for our citizens.”



Question: “Senator Newsom, out of everyone on this stage, you have been undoubtedly the most critical of the Mellark administration. Out of everything, what is your largest criticism of the administration in regards to domestic and economic policy?”

Senator Newsom: “That’s simple. President Mellark’s administration in general has been a catastrophic failure, but the largest pitfall emerges in his handling of the morphling crisis. We have allowed a pharmaceutical industry to continue to hold our citizens captive while they overprescribe addictive medication and destroy lives and families in the process. However, under the Mellark administration, such actions by that industry are completely legal. As president, I’m ending that. We cannot afford to allow entire industries to go unchecked. This is what happens when capitalism runs amok without any sort of check on its power.”

President Mellark’s response: “Senator, the morphling crisis has been a stain on this country’s history long before I came into office. You know that, I know that, and this nation knows that. You simply cannot blame me for a crisis that has existed for well over fifty years. And in response to your claims that we have essentially turned a blind eye to the pain and suffering of those affected by this crisis, I would like to note the policies that have been put in place under my Department of Health and Human Services that have limited the ability of the pharmaceutical industry to make a buck off this crisis, and furthermore, I’d like to note the impact of such policies. In the last year of the Canth administration, exactly 32,283 Panem citizens died due to overdoses on morphling. In each year of my administration, I have made this crisis a top priority, resulting in decreases each year: in year one of the administration, we decreased to 20,451 deaths, then to 16,004 deaths in year two, then to 11,340 in year three, and we are projecting a decrease for this year to be around 5,600. The decrease we have seen is astronomical; to insinuate that my administration has failed on this issue is to simply do exactly what you do every time you step up to a podium: make up facts and mention my name.”



Question: “Senator Roydon, you have openly criticized the administration’s handling of a major whistleblower case that arose late last year. What sort of protections do you think should be afforded to those who choose to blow the whistle on illegal activity in the nation of Panem?”

Senator Roydon: “Whistleblowers are absolutely right to inform on companies or entities that engage in illegal activity, and they should certainly be protected. It is deeply troublesome that whistleblowers in this nation are not protected to the same standards as in Britain or France; the case that you mentioned is a prime example of how not to deal with that situation. While the law may not protect whistleblowers at the moment, it should have been clear that in this case, the corporation involved was certainly acting illegally and against the best interests of our nation, and instead of punishing the person who turned them in, we should have been looking to punish the corporation for their crime.”



Question: “President Mellark, your opponents have rigorously attacked you for your handling of education. You made this a key part of your agenda for your first term, and it seems to have been a constant source of controversy the entire way. How do you respond to your critics on this issue?”

President Mellark: “I would first like to remind my critics and opponents that education simply should not be a political football. Period, the end. Panem has always served as a beacon of hope to the world, and that beacon is lit up first in our education system. How do we inspire the future leaders of our nation without ensuring that their education system is well prepared to do so? It is our duty to ensure that every student has access to a quality education system and that they are not limited to simply a single option. Much of this controversy comes from the fact that we are enabling students to have a choice of what school they attend. I personally think that as shown in industries across our economy, competition improves the product sold, and allowing private and public schools to operate on the same footing will ultimately improve our schools overall. So, to each person on this stage, I challenge you to consider this question: do you seriously believe that your child’s education should be talked about in this way?”



ON FOREIGN POLICY:



Question: “Senator Newsom, you have continuously expressed your discontentment with the administration over multiple foreign policy issues, particularly that of the Greek conflict. Should another issue akin to Greece arise, what would you choose to do as President?”

Senator Newsom: “In that case, I would work to ensure first that we avoid dipping our toe into foreign waters that we have no business being in. I understand the need to ensure the safety of our citizens, but we simply have no business intruding on a conflict that did not involve us until we chose to make it our issue.”



Question: “Senator Roydon, your opponents have described you as a ‘foreign policy lightweight’, and have noted your relative silence on such issues. How do you combat these complaints?”

Senator Roydon: “Let me be clear: I currently serve on the Foreign Relations Committee, and to insinuate I’m simply not prepared to tackle foreign policy is absurd. Each election year, we continue to insist that certain candidates are ‘not prepared’ as others have served in certain positions that allegedly qualify them to serve in the office. Let me remind everyone that while Katniss Everdeen never served in public office prior to her election as President, she undoubtedly made a positive mark on Panem’s history, especially in foreign relations. Meanwhile, many heralded Cecelia Paylor and Rick Canth for their so-called experience on foreign policy, and some of their largest mistakes were made on the international stage. The insistence that you must have experience in foreign policy is a farce. What matters is a leader with a clear mind and morals that is prepared to rely on the proper advisors, and that is exactly what I will offer as president. ”



Question: “Senator Canstrom, Oceania is continues to threaten action against the nation of Panem for what they are calling ‘invasive action’ that is occurring due to the anti-terrorism initiatives that Panem continues to stage on their soil. In the case that Oceania does act on their threats, how would you react as president?”

Senator Canstrom: “To be honest, we shouldn’t still be in Oceania. Regardless of if they threaten us or not, I will seek to remove our troops from the region as President Mellark has failed to do so.”

Mellark’s response: “Senator, the reason those troops haven’t been moved is because while the Oceanian Empire has been eradicated and serves no active threat to the nation of Panem, there is still significant potential for certain minute cells to conglomerate and reconstitute the OE. You need to understand that being president isn’t all simple; it’s not something you can view in the short-term. It may be a great political point to say that you’ll withdraw, but by doing so, you are creating a power vacuum that will ingest many of our bravest and finest. I simply won’t stand for that, and I stand by my decision.”



Question: “Governor Jones, what do you view as the greatest threat to Panem on the international scene today?”

Governor Jones: “The threat of unstable countries or entities obtaining nuclear weaponry is what I would consider to be our greatest threat. We are reaching a point where there’s a chance that an unstable country could begin to enrich uranium or other elements to make nuclear weapons and begin a nuclear holocaust. We are all very aware of the threat that causes, and we don’t want to face that threat ever again. However, even worse of a threat is if a group like the Oceanian Empire emerged and obtained nuclear weapons. Think about it: for all the destruction that was caused by the OE, imagine how much worse it would have been if they had miniaturized a nuclear bomb and detonated it inside of our borders. We simply cannot allow a threat like that to occur.”



Question: “President Mellark, the most controversial topic of your presidency lies with Panem’s involvement with the Greek conflict. Despite constant criticism on the topic, you continue to stand by your decision to enter the conflict. Why?”

President Mellark: “First, because a good leader always stands by what they believe to be right, and second, because I don’t just believe it was the right decision: it was the right decision. As Governor Jones said, we cannot allow for nuclear terrorism from a nation or a group. That is exactly what was happening in Greece, and I need to point out that we withdrew as soon as we completed our goals. Greece is no longer a nuclear threat. We are not facing a threat of nuclear warfare at this time. We did not stay to fight in Greece. We succeeded in our goal, and it was a worthy goal. This criticism that has been thrown in the face of this conflict is simply a misguided view on foreign policy. As one of my opponents said earlier on foreign policy, it’s our job to ensure the safety of our citizens. In response to that statement, I would like to say that not only is it our prerogative to do so when we are attacked at home, but also to ascertain that we don’t have to have attacks at home.


CLOSING STATEMENTS:

Senator Canstrom: “Today, we face a choice. Do we want a Panem that fights for equality, fairness, and greatness, or do we wish to continue down this path that will lead to our demise? It is our job this November to ensure that we make the right choice to restore a proper education system for our children and to avoid needless wars to keep our soldiers safe.”

Governor Jones: “It is our responsibility to ensure that government is by the people, and for the people. Right now, we are seeing a government that is inflated, leading to a drag on our economy and on our people. It’s time to ensure that we see true smaller government, to put the power back with our districts, and take Panem to its highest point yet.”

Senator Newsom: “There are five people on this stage, and there are five different visions of the future. However, under a Newsom presidency, you can be assured that no one will be left behind. We must move forward together as a society, and our first step towards that will come in November.”

Senator Roydon: “For far too long, we have received the same old story about removing special interests from politics and governing for the people. And yet, it appears that none of our political parties are truly interested in that. That’s why I’m on this stage: it’s time for a real change, one that brings true accountability to our government and brings the people back to the People’s House. Don’t be fooled by the glamour of these special interests. Vote Centre in November, and let’s take our country back.”

President Mellark: “Over the last four years, I have worked diligently to deliver reform to the people of Panem, and I have done so with great success. We have made great progress on education, on our economy, and in our foreign policy. As my opponents are eager to say, now is a time to make a choice. Do we wish to continue on with a strong, capable government who is a proven success, or do we make a choice to change to a new and trendy government who may fail in the manner of the Canth administration in a year? Do we wish to endanger our progress on the issues we have faced, or do we want to continue to fix the problems in our country? Are you better off than you were four years ago? These are the questions that each of you will ask yourselves following this debate up until election day. If the answer to the final question is yes, then I’m certain of where your vote will fall. If not, then you have four other options to choose from.”


ANALYSIS: Based on flash polling conducted immediately after the debate, the following results occurred:

Which candidate do you believe won the debate?

Peeta Mellark – 60 percent

Julie Roydon – 19 percent

Kaitlyn Jones – 15 percent

Patrick Newsom – 2 percent

Iris Canstrom – 1 percent

Undecided – 3 percent

If the general election were held today, which candidate would you be most likely to vote for in the election for president?

Peeta Mellark – 36 percent

Julie Roydon – 18 percent

Kaitlyn Jones – 17 percent

Patrick Newsom – 13 percent

Iris Canstrom – 9 percent

Undecided – 7 percent


The debate has thrown the momentum behind President Mellark in the final days of the campaign. A clear win in the debate has undoubtedly affected the polling of the race, where the President in the last poll was only two points away from his nearest opponent. As of tonight, he is now eighteen points away from his nearest opponent. Meanwhile, Iris Canstrom and Patrick Newsom completely crashed tonight, endangering their candidacies as the election campaign goes into its final stretch.

At the end of this cycle, it appears that we may be looking at one of three scenarios:

  • A Mellark/Roydon runoff: This option has been widely predicted for weeks as Mellark and Roydon’s momentum has continued to swell. Such a runoff would be hard to predict; would Labor and Civic push their voters to support Roydon to prevent a second Mellark term, or would they make no push at all?
  • A Mellark/Jones runoff: This option is entirely new based on the polls from tonight. While Jones was at the bottom of the pack previously, her star has risen after tonight’s debate, leading to the potential for such a scenario. In this case, it’s a true tossup, and potentially a low turnout one at that. Mellark and Jones are both ideologically right-wing, which completely isolates the left wing of Panem politics. While there’s a chance that Labor and Civic could endorse the lesser of the two evils, it’s far more likely that they simply don’t make a move at all. Meanwhile, Centre may choose to endorse Jones, giving her a much needed boost in the face of the Liberty Party’s massive electoral machine.
  • A Mellark majority win: This option was thrown out the window long ago as the President’s approval rating dropped consistently. However, following this debate and the momentum that will follow, there is a very real chance that Mellark will avoid a runoff; in our last district poll, a vast amount of the races were very close, and Mellark was typically within two to four points of the leader if he was not in the lead. As such, it’s entirely possible that Mellark manages to win outright. It will be up to Roydon and Jones to halt this movement with their own momentum- if it’s not too late already.
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VP DEBATE: Tarson on defense as she faces challengers on all sides

The vice presidential debate, the first of two general election debates held this election season, was held last night in conjunction with the Panem Debate Council and The Panem Free Press.

Candidates that competed were required to meet standards set by the PDC, of which five candidates met the qualifications:

  • Vice President Rebecca Tarson (Liberty Party-District 12)
  • Senator Jace Walters (Labor Party-District 10)
  • Senator Quentin Kennedy (Civic Party-District 6)
  • Secretary Delia Sutherland (Conservative Party-District 4)
  • Representative Matthias Christian (Centre Party-District 10)

Topics of the vice presidential debate were separated into two sections: domestic policy and foreign policy. Questions were fielded from the audience in a townhall-style format moderated by Panem Free Press Capitol correspondent Carlton Beck. If a candidate’s name was invoked during another candidate’s response, the first candidate was allowed to respond.



Below are excerpts from the debate proceedings, based on subjects.



ON DOMESTIC POLICY:



Question: “Senator Kennedy, the nation of Panem is facing a serious morphling crisis, particularly in District 6. You have noted on the campaign trail that this crisis cannot stand, and that it must be dealt with immediately. What would be your solution to this drug epidemic?”

Senator Kennedy: “This crisis is abounding with no end in sight as it currently stands. The abuse of morphling destroys the lives of those who take it and those who are around them. Our best way to combat this, and the way that I championed recently in the Senate, is to limit physicians’ ability to prescribe such an addictive drug and to put oversight on the systems that distribute it. The majority of victims of morphling are not those who have been prescribed the drug. They are people who have suffered due to buying it on the black market.”



Question: “Secretary Sutherland, you have expressed discontent with the Mellark administration in regards to the size of the government. If you were elected vice president, what areas of the government would you champion to downsize?”

Secretary Sutherland: “It may be trendy to make new departments, but I don’t think it’s necessary. We have eighteen full-fledged departments, many of which cover small areas that could be covered by a larger overarching department. I would advocate to combine the Departments of Commerce and International Trade and the Departments of State and Global Development. This would not only downsize the size and scope of government, it would also save taxpayers millions.”



Question: “Senator Walters, do you believe that the federal government has done enough in regards to regulation of certain industries, such as the energy sector?”

Senator Walters: “I do not. The past two administrations have done absolutely nothing to protect industrial workers. We’ve seen coal miners and transportation workers engage in unsafe working environments, the likes of which we haven’t seen since Coriolanus Snow was ruling over Panem. It’s rather sickening to watch, considering that President Mellark and Vice President Tarson both are from District 12 and both dealt with the coal industry their entire lives. They should be concerned for the safety of these workers, and as vice president, I would look to help impose more stringent regulations on dangerous industries such as these to ensure that citizens are safer.”

Tarson’s response: “You’re right, Senator; I have lived around the coal industry my entire life. District 12 is undoubtedly the largest coal district in Panem, and we are proud of it. However, District 12 is also aware that by putting these regulations on them, that you are not making them any safer. Instead of being able to make a living, these workers are now out of a job because the coal mines can’t afford to employ them. While I appreciate your enthusiasm to make sure coal miners and all workers are safer, perhaps you should get to know a few of them first before making them political pawns. These workers know best, and they want to work.”



Question: “Vice President Tarson, your opponents have openly criticized you for your support of a tax cut for corporations, as signed into law by the President in his tax bill earlier in his term. What is the rationale for such a policy, and do you support corporations being so heavily involved in the political process through donations to campaigns?”

Vice President Tarson: “I don’t regret supporting that bill, not one bit. As you can probably tell, we no longer are in a recession. Our economic numbers are higher than they have been in a very long time, probably since Katniss Everdeen was in office. Clearly, cutting that tax rate spurred some much needed growth. As for corporations involved in the political process, I think that companies as a whole shouldn’t donate. I haven’t accepted any donations from major corporations. However, every person in Panem should have the right to participate in our political process, and if Senator Walters or Senator Kennedy or Representative Christian have an issue with that, they should really consider how that would be a violation of basic constitutional rights.”

Representative Christian’s rebuttal: “Madame Vice President, with all due respect, your donations may not directly from the corporations themselves, but the fact that company executives funnel millions into your campaign warchest is a clear indicator that you still aren’t any sort of independent from corporate interests.”

Senators Kennedy and Walters ceded their response time following Representative Christian’s response.



Question: “Representative Christian, you have spoken at length during your campaign rallies on government accountability and ensuring that the government remains open and transparent. Under the Canth administration, you were notably open about their lack of transparency and their corruption. What do you have to say regarding the same subject for the Mellark administration, and what would you change as vice president?”

Representative Christian: “While the Mellark administration has undoubtedly improved from the Canth administration on government transparency and corruption, let me remind everyone that the bar was rather low under President Canth. This administration, though marginally better, still has acted brazenly in including lobbyists and corporate interests into the legislative and executive process, corrupting the system that was set forth after the Revolution. We need a reset; we need to remember that a government that conceals its actions is a government that has something to hide. As vice president, the first thing I would push for is a lifetime ban on lobbyists serving in the White House and a ten-year waiting period before public officials could join the lobbying sector.”



ON FOREIGN POLICY:



Question: “Senator Walters, you have stated that Panem’s involvement in Greece was a ‘massive overreaching mistake that never should have occurred.’ How would you have recommended the response to the Greek crisis occurred?”

Senator Walters: “My statement wasn’t necessarily geared at non-involvement in Greece. Our involvement, beyond that of ensuring the safe return of nuclear weapons, was the issue. President Mellark and his administration- and yes, that would include you, Madame Vice President- are responsible for the loss of hundreds of Panem citizens’ lives due to the bungled response. We should have been better prepared to deal with such a crisis, and we should have put forward a concrete plan for how things would be handled.”

VP Tarson’s response: “Senator, that’s just heinous of you to exploit the tragic loss of these brave men and women. Our response was not bungled. It was as quick as we could make it. I understand that you have never sat in the Situation Room and made the tough decision to put our soldiers in harm’s way, but I figured that you were intelligent enough to understand that this decision was not taken lightly by the administration.”



Question: “Vice President Tarson, you have expressed that the need for a nuclear Panem is clear and that Panem should remain a nuclear power in order to deter other nations from bellicose actions. However, some of your opponents disagree with you heavily on this subject. Why exactly does the nation of Panem need to remain a nuclear power?”

Secretary Sutherland: “Well, we can start out by looking directly at what just happened in Greece. Greece attempted to obtain nuclear arsenals during their conflict with the Grecorussian Empire, leading to a foreign nuclear crisis. ”



Question: “Senator Kennedy, you have previously criticized the Mellark administration’s approach to foreign policy as, in your words, it “goes much farther than it should into others’ affairs.” Please explain what you meant in this statement.”

Senator Kennedy: “That statement largely refers to the idea that is prevalent within the Mellark administration that we should intervene in other nations’ issues. I know that this may be a radical approach for some on this stage, particularly the Vice President, but we have enough issues at home that we don’t need to worry about making Greece our colony.”

Tarson’s response: “You’re right, Senator; we do have issues at home to focus on, and in our administration, we have tackled key issues such as education, the economy, and tax reform. However, we cannot simply avoid foreign policy, as popular as that may be. We need to make sure our nation is safe from all enemies foreign and domestic..”



Question: “Vice President Tarson, there are growing concerns over human rights violations in nations like Oceania and Greece. What is your opinion on how we should combat such violations, or should we even have a role in ensuring against such violations?”

Vice President Tarson: “Without a doubt such human rights violations are not appropriate or acceptable. However, you bring a very valid question to the table: should we intervene? My personal opinion would be that we should respond when our assets or interests are at risk. However, beyond that, we should be cooperating with the Council of Nations to implement strict sanctions against the nations involved.”



Question: “Representative Christian, the nation of Oceania has threatened a trade war with the nation of Panem following what they refer to as ‘invasive acts’ on their soil due to our offensive to defeat the Oceanian Empire. What is your view on how we should respond to such threats?”

Representative Christian: “I have no doubt that Panem is prepared for such a trade war, but we should consider diplomacy in this matter. If it possible to deescalate such a conflict, it should be done with the utmost haste. I’m not certain if the Mellark administration has done so; however, I certainly urge a diplomatic ending to this.”


ANALYSIS: Based on flash polling conducted immediately after the debate, the following results occurred:

Which candidate do you believe won the debate?

Rebecca Tarson – 40 percent

Matthias Christian – 29 percent

Delia Sutherland – 12 percent

Jace Walters – 5 percent

Quentin Kennedy – 3 percent

Undecided – 11 percent

If the general election were held today, which candidate would you be most likely to vote for in the election for vice president?

Rebecca Tarson – 32 percent

Matthias Christian – 22 percent

Jace Walters – 16 percent

Delia Sutherland – 14 percent

Quentin Kennedy – 12 percent

Undecided – 4 percent


The results show clear movement for Vice President Tarson; the Vice President now leads the field following the debate by a stark ten points over her nearest competitor, Matthias Christian. While the race is expected to narrow, this is certainly a good sign for Tarson as she continues in her race for reelection.

Campaigning resumes following Amelia devastation

The general election campaign has officially resumed today following a week-long pause due to the threat of Hurricane Amelia and the devastation that followed in District 4.

President Peeta Mellark, First Lady Katniss Everdeen, and Vice President Rebecca Tarson flew by hovercraft to District 4 to view the destruction and offer on-site assistance to officials in District 4. The three worked with emergency personnel to help clear wreckage in one of the towns on the coastline and later served food to evacuees further inland. The presidential and vice presidential candidates of all major parties extended their well-wishes to those in the line of the storm, putting forward offers to help in any way possible.

Coming up very soon, however, is the vice presidential debate, followed by the presidential debate. The two debates will mark the very end of the election season, and for the five candidates for each position, everything is on the line as it remains too close to call at this time.

Panem Debate Council releases debate information

The Panem Debate Council, the federal government’s nonpartisan commission on presidential and vice presidential debates, released the information surrounding this year’s debates. The information included times, dates, and locations.

According to the information released, the Council is deviating from the typical process, mandating two debates be held- one presidential, and one vice presidential. Last election featured a ticket debate, but it appears that the Council has chosen to scrap that due to time constraints that occurred four years ago.

The vice presidential debate will occur on October 1st in District 1. The debate will focus on multiple topics, including the records of the candidates, domestic policy, and foreign policy. Questions will be fielded from the audience in a townhall-style format with the lowest polling candidates to the left and right respectively moving in toward the highest polling candidates toward the center. The moderator will be Panem Free Press Capitol correspondent Carlton Beck. To compete, candidates must be of a major party (Liberty, Labor, Civic, Conservative, or Centre) or reach at least ten percent in three major polls. As it stands, the current participants will be:

  • Rebecca Tarson, Liberty Party nominee
  • Jace Walters, Labor Party nominee
  • Matthias Christian, Centre Party nominee
  • Delia Sutherland, Conservative Party nominee
  • Quentin Kennedy, Civic Party nominee

If the debate were to be held today, the seating arrangement would be:

Kennedy — Sutherland — Tarson — Walters — Christian

The presidential debate will occur on October 15th in the Capitol. The debate will also focus on multiple topics, particularly the candidates’ records, foreign policy, domestic policy, and economic policy. Questions will have been previously fielded from Panem citizens and will be asked by the moderator, who will be former White House press secretary Polaris Septrix. The debate will be held in traditional formatting, with the lowest polling candidates to the left and right respectively moving in toward the highest polling candidates toward the center. The polling standard to debate is the same as that of the vice presidential debate. As it currently stands, the participants shall be:

  • Peeta Mellark, Liberty Party nominee
  • Iris Canstrom, Labor Party nominee
  • Julie Roydon, Centre Party nominee
  • Kaitlyn Jones, Conservative Party nominee
  • Patrick Newsom, Civic Party nominee

The order of the candidates, if the debate were to be held today, would be:

Jones — Roydon — Mellark — Canstrom — Newsom

 

EXCLUSIVE: Presidential hopeful Kaitlyn Jones sits down for interview with Polaris Septrix

Following a major dispute featuring two of the Conservative Party’s most prominent leaders, the debate for the Conservative Party’s presidential candidates was cancelled on Saturday. Today Polaris Septrix sits down with former governor and Conservative presidential hopeful Kaitlyn Jones in an exclusive one-on-one interview with The Panem Free Press.

PS: Let’s get started, shall we? Governor, you were the last remaining Conservative governor in the nation following Governor Xavier Hansen’s abandonment of the Conservative label. How does your time as governor contribute to your ability to potentially serve as Panem’s next president?

KJ: Thank you for having me today. My time as governor was no walk in the park, as many will easily tell you. However, what my critics won’t tell you is that we got a lot done in District 11 under my tenure. Our legislature was a Conservative majority, but we regularly worked with Liberty and Civic members in order to get what our citizens wanted passed and on my desk. We passed tax reform, welfare reform, environmental reform, you name it. In four years, we passed some of the most meaningful legislation in the District’s history. It goes to show that I have ability to govern and to work with people to get to the goal of a better nation.

PS: However, you only got a single term.

KJ: That’s true, unfortunately. The recession hit during my tenure. While we worked as best we could under that pressure, there’s only so much a district government can do to alleviate the issues that come from the Capitol.

PS: So you are blaming your loss on the recession and on President Canth?

KJ: I do think that the recession was a key factor, since many families were hurting and many remembered that the economy wasn’t bad under Liberty Party rule. I think it’s a big factor as to why we have President Mellark right now instead of President Canth. And look, Rick is a nice guy, but I don’t agree with him on many things. I think he lost sight of his values when he got into the White House. You started to see things like higher taxes and poorer decisions, which put us in a bit of a bind. It definitely didn’t make my life any easier.

PS: Well, he’s certainly not far from many people’s minds when they think of the Conservative Party. How do you plan to revitalize the party and its image following Rick Canth’s impeachment?

KJ: I think that Panem currently associates the Conservatives with corruption and with flip flopping. I mentioned previously about President Canth heading the opposite direction with taxation, and people see that and say, “How is this any different than Liberty politicians, or Labor politicians, or Civic politicians, or Centre politicians?” It looks terrible on us when we campaign on a promise and deliver another party’s platform plank. It certainly hurts us deeply as a party when our leaders engage in corruption as well. President Canth isn’t the only one either, it’s Robert F. Maxwell as well. Voters remember his email scandals, and that’s what they remember about Conservatives. They associate our party with everything that our previous leaders have done wrong. That’s why I am running. We need a fresh start, and we can’t have someone who is the image of corruption or even remotely associated with corruption in the case of Secretary Pierce in charge.

PS: Which brings me to my next question: What is your opinion of what happened on Saturday?

KJ: To put it bluntly, I think that Secretary Pierce is right in one way: Mr. Maxwell is simply trying to remain in the lead like the rest of us, and he knows that he can’t be in the lead if the Conservative voters see who he really is. He can’t answer the tough questions and so he sticks to his campaign rallies where he gets to mandate what is discussed. However, the same can be said about Secretary Pierce. I was fully ready to take on Secretary Pierce with Mr. Maxwell in attendance, with an empty podium in place of Mr. Maxwell, or even in just a one-on-one debate. However, Secretary Pierce avoided the fight, just like Mr. Maxwell. It goes to show that there is a real choice in our primary this election season. You can choose Secretary Pierce, who is effectively who President Canth would have wanted to win. You can choose Mr. Maxwell, who is just as corrupt as President Canth was, despite the fact that he says that he wants to change the face of the party. And last and I hope not least, you can choose Governor Kaitlyn Jones, who is none of the above. If you want a real revamp of our party, you can join me and my campaign in fighting for the true Conservative platform, in fighting against corruption regardless if it’s from a Liberty, Labor, Civic, Centre, or Conservative politician, and in fighting for a greater freedom for Panem.

PS: Well, there you have it. Rising star Kaitlyn Jones, former governor of District 11 and potential Conservative nominee for President of the Republic of Panem. Thank you for joining us tonight.

BREAKING: Spat between Maxwell and Pierce forces Conservative debate cancellation

BREAKING: The Conservative Party presidential debate, which was planned to air this Thursday and to be hosted by The Panem Free Press, has been called off with no intent of rescheduling according to sources within the Conservative Party and within the campaigns of the three main candidates.

The debate, which would have featured businessman Robert F. Maxwell, former Secretary Kurtis Pierce, and former Governor Kaitlyn Jones, was cancelled following a row between Maxwell and Pierce. Maxwell alleged that he was being treated unfairly by the debate staff and by the Pierce campaign and declared that he would have no part in a Conservative debate under the conditions that were set forth. When debate staff refused to leave an empty podium in place of Maxwell’s position onstage, Pierce also declined to participate.

The Maxwell campaign only had this to say about the spat:

“Mr. Maxwell will not participate in any debate that does not give him a fair shot of delivering his message to the voters. Instead, Mr. Maxwell will be rallying in District 2 with his supporters and raising money that will be donated to charities that donate to causes that help our nation’s veterans.”

Conversely, the Pierce campaign responded to the story as well, taking a different approach:

“Robert F. Maxwell showed his true colors today, running away from a fight he was destined to lose. However, as long as The Panem Free Press avoids allowing voters to see that Mr. Maxwell isn’t prepared to show up for the job that he is running for, Secretary Pierce will not participate in what Mr. Maxwell describes as an ‘unfair’ debate.”

While the Jones campaign declined to comment when contacted, Governor Jones will participate in a one-on-one interview with former Press Secretary Polaris Septrix here on The Panem Free Press in the place of the Conservative debate.

Civic debate sets record for primary debate viewership

Sen. Patrick Newsom (left) and former Sec. Samuel Trenton enter the stage for the first Civic presidential debate.

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.

Questions: 

  • 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.