Real issues and elevated discourse – that’s what University of Notre Dame students expect to present during a mock presidential debate Tuesday (Oct. 25). While the debate will feature one “candidate” representing each political party, the students will not be impersonating current presidential candidates Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Instead, the students have prepared for a candid conversation to tackle today’s most pressing political, cultural and social issues, according to debate organizer Maria Palazzolo, a sophomore political science major from Springfield, Illinois.
Representing the two political parties will be Prathm Juneja, a sophomore studying political science and computer science from Edison, New Jersey, for the Democrats and William Lederer, a junior finance and political science major from Deerfield, Illinois, for the Republicans.
Like a U.S. presidential debate, the student candidates will be informed in advance of only broad topic areas and will not know the specific questions. This tactic challenges them to be well-versed in many areas in order to portray the party’s position on various issues.
Alexander Heffner, host of The Open Mind on PBS, will moderate. Heffner has covered American politics, civic life and millennials since the 2008 presidential campaign.
The Notre Dame mock debate is hosted by the National Engagement and Outreach Department within Student Government. The debate will take place in Room 101 of DeBartolo Hall from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public.