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Americans, Brits battle at UM debate

The UM Debate team and the British Debate All Stars faced off Tuesday at the Rat in a debate over the issue “this house would put an end to presidential debates.” Hosted by Chris Nowinski, of the WWE and Smackdown Your Vote, the debate focused on the effects that the presidential debates have on U.S. democratic system.

Citing the fact that questions and answers would already be prepared by candidates in a presidential debate, and that candidates would not be allowed to question each other directly, the British All Stars proposed that the debates are a danger to democracy.

“What sort of debate doesn’t allow questioning?” British debater Robert Marrs said. “It’s like boxing without punching. Instead of answers, people look for other things – the mistakes that candidates make, the clothes they wear, and their pretty smiles become more important than the next four years.”

The UM debate team opposed, stating that the presidential debates are the only way that the public can see the issues for themselves.

“Without the debates, we only know the issues through a third party: the biased media, the unresponsive media, the unreliable media,” Skylar Zwick, senior, said.

They also argued that seeing the two candidates in a debate, where there is a possibility of mistakes, humanizes these political figures into people that the public can relate to.

“The presidential debates give politicians a human characteristic,” Alex Acosta, junior, said. “When I see that Bush choked on a pretzel, that shows me that political figures are people, just like everyone sitting in this room.”

Other issues mentioned at the debate included Ralph Nader, and his inability to participate in the debates as a third party candidate.

“If someone is not Democratic or Republican then they cannot be elected. The nature of the debates doesn’t allow that, because they deny that platform to third parties,” said Aneurin Brewer of the British All Stars.

After each debater gave his or her speech, the floor was open to the audience members, many of whom questioned the All-Stars. Despite the seemingly opposing crowd, a vote by a show of hands determined the British All Stars as winners of the debate.

Natalia Maldonado can be contacted at n.maldonado@umiami.edu..

September 30, 2004

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.