Mock Presidential Debates Draw a Crowd

With the Democrats dressed in blue and the Republicans wearing red, the students in the AP Government classes’ mock Presidential Debates got every detail of the two political parties correct – including the heated arguments over policy positions.  

“Immigration is a defining aspect of the American character,” Aubrey Dall, the mock Democratic candidate for president, said. “Immigration is not a problem to be solved. Throughout our history we have welcomed immigrants.” 

Ava Florez, the mock Republican candidate, begged to differ.  

“We have a housing shortage, and the influx of immigrants complicates that even more,” Ava argued. “Our immigration system is flawed.” 

David Zupan and Kerry Hackert’s AP Government classes each held a debate this month in front of a packed audience at Carmel High School’s Casey Hall.   AP Government students created a mock Presidential Debate 

Not shying away from difficult subjects, the candidates debated everything from the tax system and abortion to climate change and transgender rights. Aubrey and Ava were the candidates in Ms. Hackert’s class. Eric Juhanak and Evan Mole squared off on the debate stage for Mr. Zupan’s class. Each presented well thought out arguments that were developed by teams of students. The entire debate was student run. The topics and questions were created by the moderators in each class.  

“You learn more by doing than by just reading, and we wanted the students to understand how a campaign works, how a political platform is developed, what opposition research involves,” Mr. Zupan said. “This teaches them current events, collaboration, communication and skills well beyond what we could teach them in class alone.”  

The debate is a tradition in the class, and students lined up at the doors of Casey Hall hoping to get a seat to watch. Unlike the real Presidential debates where groans and applause often interrupt the candidates, the audience at the Carmel High School debate registered its response in whispers and grimaces.  

That does not mean they did not have opinions. Audience members were asked to vote for a candidate based on the best debate presentation, but to leave their own opinions out of it.  

“It was a red wave,” Ms. Hackert said later. “The Republican candidates in both classes won.“