“When was the last time you were in an elementary school classroom not for publicity purposes?”
Two college students from their stools on the stage took a second to think about the question posed.
Senior Jacob Gates began his statement, mentioning his three kids with reminiscence, claiming to be “as involved as I possibly can be as a U.S. senator.”
As Senior Emily Mincey provided the audience with her explanation, bringing up her fourchildren, Gates quietly joked, “It’s not a competition.”
While the amount of imaginary children Gates and Mincey have may not be a competition, the event which brought them both to the stage was. Mincey and Gates are a part of the Alternate Reality Learning Experience, a university-wide mock presidential campaign. Mincey is Elizabeth Chase, a Congresswoman from a cattle ranching family in Central Florida who is running on the Republican ticket with Charles Franklin. Gates, as Christopher Sampson, is a senator from Colorado running with Democratic presidential candidate Rachel Bowman. At the Vice Presidential Debate on Oct. 21, the candidates answered student-submitted questions from student moderators representing the Communications, Education, and Psychology classes involved with the A.R.L.E.
Throughout the debate, Gates, as Senator Sampson, explained his views on how to reform the “Draconian laws and measures,” which plague the American system, touching on topics like the drug war, the Black Lives Matter movement, ISIS and gun control.
“We need common sense legislature in this country,” he said. “We need to end the gridlock.”
Gates claimed that Republicans are using debated social topics like Planned Parenthood to “get ahead,” and causing government shutdowns.
“The Bowman-Sampson administration stands for reform within social justice issues,economy and society as a whole without the interference of big businesses and political corruption,” said Zoe Mathieu as Rachel Bowman.
Not only was political corruption discussed while the various scandals which had occurred throughout the A.R.L.E. were brought up, issues, which are prominent on college campuses, were also addressed. Political apathy, although an ironic topic to talk about in a room dominated by Political Science students and professors, became a hot topic during the course of the debate.
“We have to get Americans to care again,” said Mincey as Elizabeth Chase. “Our goal as Republicans is to restore the significance of the American worker and with the right leadership this can be realized.”
In a recent interview, Burke Tomaselli as Charles Franklin, the Republican presidential candidate, supported his running mate’s statement; “The American Dream is coming to a cruel awakening that is met with a sense of lethargy and entitlement.”
The Republican Party plans on combatting this apathy through promoting positive change by stimulating small business growth, keeping Americans secure, and reforming the education system by eliminating and replacing underperforming programs.
“There’s thousands of arts scholarships that go unclaimed every year; STEM subjects are important but we have to have a broader focus on multiple disciplines as opposed to just the sciences and technology,” said Mincey as Elizabeth Chase. During the debate she also protested excess standardized testing; “it’s keeping the joy out of the classroom.”
The Franklin-Chase administration aims at appealing to middle class, everyday Americans who identify with these issues.
“Our supporters are common, hardworking Americans who strongly believe in the principles of our country’s founding and want to help this country achieve what it’s truly capable of,” said Tomaselli as Charles Franklin.
The presidential debate will be held on November 13th at 7 p.m. in the Boardrooms, where Tomaselli and Mathieu will go head-to-head and discuss prominent issues as Charles Franklin and Rachel Bowman. Students can submit questions and attendees will be able to vote for their favorite candidate to determine the future — imaginary — president of the United States.