Poli Sci students pit Biden against Trump in mock debate, election

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Dr. Joe Morris’ political science class, “Winning the White House,” is hosting a mock presidential debate between students portraying Donald Trump and Joe Biden with hopes that they will gain a better understanding of the political process, improve their public speaking and critical thinking skills, and have fun.

It’s happening on Friday, Dec. 8, in the Great Room of the Carolyn Herrmann Student Union. Taking the debate stage will be students Taylor Beachy and Ella Valimont, representing Democratic incumbents Joe Biden and Kamala Harris; along with Jarrett Richman and Gabby Hoke, representing Republicans Donald Trump and his running mate, Nikki Haley.

"There is no better way to learn how campaigns work than to work as part of one,” Morris said. “This simulation replicates the fast-paced and exciting world of election campaigns so that students from every major have a chance to experience them.”

Over the course of the semester, Morris said students produce a 50-page campaign plan, create at least one campaign ad, participate in a mock press conference, meet with leaders of political action committees, participate in a debate, and deal with crises and negative ads from their opponents. 

“Really, there's no better way for students to learn about campaigns than to read about them, discuss them, then apply what they've learned in a hands-on experience," he said.

The debate is scheduled to last from 11:15 to 11:45 a.m., with voting to follow from noon to 2 p.m. All are welcome to view the contest and cast their vote.