On Tuesday, University Democrats and College Republicans came together to watch the Virginia gubernatorial debate between candidates Terry McAuliffe, former governor and Glenn Youngkin, a successful businessman. The event was put together by UVA’s Democracy Initiative, and both groups came together for a wonderful evening filled with cheers and support for both candidates.
The debate took place in Northern Virginia, the home of many UVA students, and was moderated by NBC broadcast journalist Chuck Todd. The discussion progressed across a wide array of topics including the economy, the COVID response, abortion, and schooling with both candidates often coming into contention with each other.
In the beginning and end of the debate, all participants clapped for both candidates. As the debate went on, the cheers for the candidates’ comments became more partisan, in the true spirit of both clubs. It was certainly a lively event with opportunities for both groups to demonstrate their support for specific policies and well-crafted lines that often make debates very entertaining.
At the end of the event, University Democrats president and College Republicans chairwoman gave short speeches about the aims of their respective organizations. Both groups were respectful of the others as they spoke about their beliefs and what they hope to achieve as CIOs at UVA. The short messages were followed by a short social with pizza and refreshments, with students coming together to talk about some of the best lines of the debate.
Overall, the event proved to be an excellent way for students on both sides of the political spectrum to come together and interact with each other. As the host of the evening mentioned, conversation with those across the aisle is necessary now more than ever to ease the tensions often present in current politics. In a polarized nation and at a polarized university, the event was a great opportunity to remind attendees of the importance and purpose of debate and community.