Debate team reflects on presidential debates

Grace Fay, In-Depth Editor

Debaters weigh in.

As the presidential election nears, the debate team gives their two cents on the debates that might have determined the election.

“I thought the presidential debates bared very little resemblance to the way we conduct ourselves on the speech and debate team,” speech and debate coach Jeff Hannan says.

While high school debate can get very competitive, there is really no room to break the rules or etiquette of debate. Students have to adhere to strict time limits, while in the presidential debates, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump, waved off time limits as if they were nothing.

High school debaters are also expected to hold each other accountable for what their opponent says. While there were attempts to do that in the presidential debates by the moderators, especially in the second presidential debate, there were far less valid objections from both candidates.

“In our debates, if you get attacked on a question, and don’t properly address it, it is way more detrimental for us than it is for them. They can just lie and not actually refute it,” junior debater Oliver Brady explains.

The measure of how somebody won the presidential debates is by how many undecided voters they convinced to vote for them. And from what the ETHS debaters recounted, while the first debate might have had more persuasion based on issues, the second one was just throwing attacks at each other.

“The second debate was all about who could make the other one look worse,” sophomore Mollie Hartenstein says.

According to US News, presidential debates still remain one of the top sources of information for the public to learn about the candidates. Again, it’s all about convincing people. The type of high school debate that these presidential debates are more similar to is a public forum, where one is trying to convince judges, who might not know much about the topic, to side with them.

The successful ETHS debate team knows a lot about convincing and persuading people to side with their argument. So it is no surprise that they have insightful opinions about the presidential debates. But many Americans don’t have a debate background, and have decided on their candidate way before the debates. Come Nov. 8, the rest of the country will see how much of an impact these debates held on the future.