Mizzou College Democrats and ASUM host debate watch party

Mizzou College Democrats and ASUM held a debate watch party in Leadership Auditorium.

Associated Students of the University of Missouri and the Mizzou College Democrats held a Democratic primary debate watch party on Nov. 20. With the Iowa Caucus around the corner on Feb. 3, students are narrowing down their top candidates.

About 60 students gathered in Leadership Auditorium for the watch party. During the debate, students groaned and laughed with their friends or quietly filled out their Democratic Debate bingo cards.

The party provided pizza, candy and soft drinks. ASUM President Sidney Steele handed out debate scorecards and bingo cards with phrases like “[Joe] Biden says something out of touch” and “anyone mentions their website.”

“People were really engaged with discussing the debate,” Steele said. “And you could hear chatter the whole time. Everything I heard was really relevant and in tune with what was happening. And so that was kind of our goal, especially with having the debate bingo and debate scorecards that we printed out was to help people engage thoughtfully with what was happening on screen.”

Mizzou College Democrats President Sadie Jess described the party’s atmosphere as jovial and chill.

Though Steele and Jess said they only knew of one person who wasn’t left-leaning who attended the party, Steele said they hoped the joint party would bring a more diverse crowd than previous watch parties.

“We were really interested in hosting an event that would hopefully kind of be more open to the general campus and people who might not be comfortable affiliating themselves, like with an organization that's part of a political party, but still interested in coming out to see the debate and to engage in these conversations,” Steele said.

Jeffrey Bittle, Mizzou College Democrats Chief of Staff, said he was disappointed with the debate. He thought the Washington Post and MSNBC moderators asked shallow questions and wants to see a smaller debate stage.

Jess agreed with Bittle’s opinion, but thought the moderators did a better job of keeping the debaters in line than previous debates.

“Well, the thing is, I see these debates every time and I'm impressed with how people speak, but their records pale in comparison to what they say,” Bittle said. “So I thought Pete Buttigieg spoke well. I thought Cory Booker spoke well, but I still support my chosen candidates because I think their records and policies will do a better job.”

Senior Brock Holmes said he didn’t think there were any clear issues themes of the November debate. Holmes said Tulsi Gabbard and Biden emerged as the debate’s losers, while he thinks Booker had the debate’s best moments.

“If more people were watching the debates, I don't think [Biden would] be the front runner nationally at all,” Holmes said. “I really liked when he was vice president, but he's not doing super well.”

Jess believes criticism should be welcomed during the primary because it will create Trump’s strongest opponent.

“It’s important that we are critical of people during the primary season, because that's the only way we'll all be the most informed we can be to make the best decision we can when it comes time to vote in the primary,” Jess said. “But I also think that by the time a candidate is chosen to be our nominee, I think it's really important that we come together to unify at that point.”

Edited by Ben Scott | bscott@themaneater.com

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