PWN Politics: The first Freedemian Presidential Debate, newest polling shows Nelzer rapidly gaining on Incumbents Rosenthal and Houser

QUENTINSBURGH- On June 10th, Quentins State International University hosted the first official Freedemian Presidential Debate. The 6 official candidates discussed their plans and qualifications for the office.

President Angela Rosenthal, VP Patrick Houser, and Katherine Nelzer all had strong showings in the debate. Coming strong, they talked about their qualifications and their ideas, trying to show why they were the best to lead Freedemia into the future.

Rosenthal faltered a bit on infrastructure and healthcare, as moderator Cynthia Powell pointed out that SRAFRA, the bill that transferred excess funding from the military and campaigns to education, healthcare, and infrastructure, was actually written by former Vice President Tom Morganson, and that almost every single one of the healthcare bills she mentioned had been championed by current VP Patrick Houser. However, she did make a strong argument for how her leadership has helped carry Freedemia for the past 4 years, to a point that while 4 years ago 78% of Freedemians said the country was “recovering”, a recent poll with the same question showed 92% said the country was “moving forward”.

Houser used that as a launching point to talk about his plans for infrastructure, saying that he thinks the ideas in the green infrastructure plan could help move the country into the future even more and place Freedemia alongside other countries who have championed going green and smart city technology already. He laid out his plan, which included large investments in modern solutions for renewable energy such as wind turbines, water turbines off the coast, solar farms, more desalination plants, and lining motorways with solar panels and wind turbines. He also pushed for growing the technology scene in Freedemia, backing up Nelzer’s plan for nationwide wi-fi, smart city technology, and incentivizing the tech industry. On a security standpoint, Houser proposed legislation that holds media sources more responsible for inaccurate reporting, especially where investigations or national security interests are involved.

Nelzer laid out technology and infrastructure plans very similar to that proposed by Houser, but emphasized cyber-security as her primary focus. Nelzer believes that Freedemia is one of the most likely worldwide to be a victim of a large cyber-attack, due to its large and growing global footprint, minimal military action, and lackluster national cyber-security protections. Her primary focus was national security, in shifting a large amount of military focus to cyber-security, as some Freedemian businesses had recently been targeted. Nelzer believes that the Freedemian government is currently one of the most vulnerable in the world, and argues that in this modern age they can’t afford to remain unprotected.

The other three struggled a bit to prove they weren’t one-issue candidates.

Economist Derrick Barson did the best job of this out of the three, talking about how he, like Houser, believes that infrastructure and technology is key, but wants it to be done by private companies in an effort to shrink the government and further grow the economy. Both VP Houser and Nelzer said they would be open to the concept of public-private partnerships to fulfill the infrastructure and technology plans. His explanation on why he thinks the government should be much more lenient on victimless crimes was met with doubt, but understanding.

Actor Craig Schluderman struggled a bit more. He succeeded in showing the merit to his reasoning behind wanting to cut foreign relations with countries blatantly known for human rights violations, and spoke clearly on why labor reform was needed in the rice and mining industries. However, he failed to show much understanding of other issues, including a lack of plans for infrastructure and only minimal ideas for healthcare. He did push for continuing to make higher education more accessible by opening more four-year campuses and community colleges, but this is something already started by SRAFRA and pushed by both Rosenthal and Houser already.

Vandover Mayor Lily Mae Clarington had the worst showing of the night. Her initial statement about nudism and body image was somewhat inspiring, but her rant about the “evils of the clothing industry” became more of a tirade than an explanation. Her plans to cut the military by 85% in the name of pacifism drew immediate fire from both President Rosenthal and Nelzer. Rosenthal pointed out that she only cut military funding because there was so much excess from past overfunding that the extra money was better off going somewhere else as long as Freedemia’s military was only for defense purposes, and that the military was not hurt or shrunk by her cuts. Nelzer argued that now, with Freedemia on the global stage and progressing rapidly, would be the absolute worst time to cut the military, as defense would be needed even more as Freedemia became a more alluring target. She reiterated her earlier plan to shift the military’s focus on cyber-security defense while maintaining a healthy combat defense.

Clarington continued her downward spiral as she started talking about censorship and nude tourism. VP Houser pointed out that while he agreed with some of Clarington’s views on censorship, the benefits of nudist tourism, and on the clothing industry, that Freedemia had much bigger things to tackle that should fall way higher on the priority list of a presidential candidate. Rosenthal chimed in agreeing, stating that she herself is a part-time nudist, but that “simply being a nudist isn’t what it takes to be a president”. Clarington then tried to change the subject to talk about infrastructure, only to get shot down by Houser again, who pointed out that while Clarington claims to also be “pro-infrastructure” and has cited some needs in her home state of Reeds, she has absolutely no plans on how Freedemia should move forward infrastructure-wise.

The debate did seem to have a large impact on the polling numbers. In a recent PWN poll from June 11th-June 14th, Rosenthal stayed about steady at 29%, retaining her lead. Houser stayed about steady at 27% and would retain second place. However, Nelzer saw a huge jump from the debate, and now sits, still in third, at 26.5% of the vote. Barson retained 4th place, but dropped to 8% of the vote. Schulderman came in fifth with 6.5% of the vote, and Clarington would drop to only 2% of the vote, still largely from her home city of Vandover. About 0.7% said other, and about 0.3% still wrote in former vice president Marco Nelson, who is not running. It appears most of the growth in the “other” category came from people who originally chose Schulderman or Clarington. Many of Barson’s voters went to Nelzer, believing she understood the merits of privatization as the CEO of TweetBook.

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Meet the candidates in Freedemia’s 2018 Presidential Election

QUENTINSBURGH- The campaign season for Freedemia’s presidential election is well underway now. The presidential campaign period in Freedemia stretches from late April to early October during major election years, with the runoff election for president and vice president taking place in November. The Freedemian Funding Party goes through a vetting process and narrows the candidate list down to approximately 5 candidates to get ballot access, though others can get access by way of petitions in all 11 states.

This year, 6 candidates made the cut, 2 by default, 3 by FFP vetting, and one by petition. Former Vice President Marco Nelson, long considered a front runner, actually decided not to run, remaining a foreign policy advisor in the Rosenthal-Houser administration after Houser extended the olive branch this past vice-presidential election.

  1. President Angela Rosenthal
  2. Vice President Patrick Houser

The first candidate is President Angela Rosethal, and the second is Vice President Patrick Houser. As is normal, the incumbent president and vice president, if they choose to run again, do not have any charges or investigations open against them, and are not at the end of their term limits, are automatically pushed into the next round.

Incumbent Angela Rosenthal is currently one of the highest esteemed presidents in Freedemian history, and is the obvious favorite for reelection. Her moves to make citizenship easier to obtain for law-abiding individuals and families; her spending reallocation act transferring money from military spending and elections to healthcare, infrastructure, and education; and her pushes for Freedemia to take its stand on the global stage in technology, innovation, and tourism have been huge steps forward for the country. Rosenthal is actually the reason for the shorter campaign period, as she pushed for election reform earlier in her term including a drastic reduction in funding for campaigns.

Former newscaster and Incumbent VP Patrick Houser’s biggest accomplishments have been on the health side of things. Along with Rosenthal, Houser spearheaded the moves for making drinking water free and accessible for all Freedemians, tackling the restroom shortage, and more than quadrupling the amount of funding for private urgent cares across Freedemia to reduce the amount of people going to the emergency room. Houser has also championed a green infrastructure plan hoping to help the country continue to go modern and go green, including roadside wind turbines, water turbines, solar farms, nationwide wifi for the digital age, etc. As a former newscaster himself, Houser also proposed an act that holds media sources more responsible for inaccurate reporting, especially where investigations or national security interests are involved.

  1. Vandover Mayor Lily Mae Clarington

Mayor Lily Mae Clarington was a major supporter and leading advocate for Amendment 30, which made public nudism and barechested equality constitutional, allowing public nudity nationwide as long as it is not accompanied by indecent behavior. Clarington has pushed for the banishment of dress codes and censorship altogether, as the city of Vandover did several years ago under her leadership. Like Houser, Clarington has pushed for investment in infrastructure. Clarington is a big advocate for making Freedemia a global hub for tourism, hoping to bring the success Laneston and Vandover have seen with nudism and movies and that Quentinsburgh has seen with arts and music to the rest of the country. Clarington also wants to essentially shrink Freedemia’s military by 85%, saying she’d like to see Freedemia truly become a center for peace, pacifism and diplomacy.

Clarington has surprised many by openly campaigning barechested, and is known for being a proud nudist who would frequently go nude on the job as mayor. Clarington also is pushing for legislation that regulates the actions of and breaks up the “clothing industry”, saying large clothing corporations are hurting and creating a negative body image for Freedemians and people all around the world.

While 94% of Freedemians identify as pacifists or non-agressionists, most do want to see a small but strong military to protect the nation, and it is unclear how voters will respond to her drastic proposed military cuts.

  1. Economist Derrick Barson

Derrick Barson is an economist, formerly an economics instructor at Hayes University in Quentinsburgh and now an economist working for the Freedemian Liberty Economic Institute based out of Franklinsburgh.

Barson’s proposals largely center around personal freedom, smaller government, and public-private partnerships, essentially helping shrink the government while stimulating the economy. Barson has proposed decriminalizing sales of marijuana products and wants to increase protections for “victimless crimes” when performed on private property. Barson advocates for helping competition by deregulating certain industries and proposes allowing non-governmental groups to take on some roles currently held by government organizations. Barson proposes fully privatizing infrastructure and simply providing some funding, pointing to FreedemiRail as a successful example and pointing out that most transit systems in Freedemia are private companies already and that private partnerships for road construction and maintenance could be successful. Barson believes private companies should be responsible for the type of green innovation Houser has proposed, and has expressed a willingness to work with Houser on his proposals as long as they were simply incentivized and not carried out by the government.

  1. TweetBook CEO Katherine Nelzer

Katherine Nelzer has become a familiar household name. Founder and CEO of the social media site TweetBook, Nelzer has become more politically outspoken in recent years, especially pertaining to the growing global cyber-security threat. Nelzer believes that Freedemia is one of the most likely worldwide to be a victim of a large cyber-attack, due to its large and growing global footprint, minimal military action, and lackluster national cyber-security protections. “A pacifist society can still be a secure one. Cyber warfare is a thing, and we need to be prepared.” Nelzer also believes that in this changing society technology is key. She supports Houser’s pushes for things like nationwide wifi and data, and, like Barson, believes incentivizing the tech industry could be one of the most important moves to help make Freedemia even more of a world leader. She cites Stepstone Technology and BuyGolly.com as two of the successes she hopes to see repeat in tech innovations nationwide, and hopes, like Houser, to see Freedemia become a champion of smart cities as a global example.

  1. Actor Craig Schluderman

Craig Schluderman is an actor who plays President James Glasner on the comedy crime show National Security. While Glasner was just a role, Schluderman has always been interested in politics. He had joked on TweetBook back in December about running, posting “Maybe what we need now is a President James Glasner to move us forward” with a link to an interview with comedian Greg Harveyman on the Late Night Show about Schluderman’s views on global politics today. Millions of signatures came in, giving Schluderman the ballot access he needed to be candidate #6. Schluderman’s campaign so far has emphasized Freedemia’s growing presence on the global stage, and has pushed for more diplomatic presence in global affairs. Schluderman believes Freedemia has a responsibility to equal rights and justice, and proposed reducing relations and trade with countries that currently have a record of discriminating based on race, gender, or religion or of human rights or war/land/border violations. On the domestic side, Schluderman wants to crack down harder on improper practices in the rice farming and mining industries that are so large in Freedemia to make them safer for workers.

This election is expected to bring up a lot of important issues that are expected to continue to make a difference in Freedemia no matter who is elected. A major upset could still be possible. While Rosenthal is still the favorite, if for no other reasons than her being loved by the people, being the incumbent, and being successful so far, it appears the issues this election centers around are not the same issues Rosenthal championed just 4 years ago. Between Houser championing health, green technology and innovation, Clarington championing tourism, pacifism, and body image, Barson championing fiscal responsibility and privatization, Nelzer championing cybersecurity and technological advancements, and Schluderman championing social justice and labor reform, Rosenthal surprisingly has the weakest platform, or at least the least bold one. Rosenthal has been so successful in her first term that she doesn’t have many unique campaign goals for a second one.

The first PWN poll coming out today shows an interesting trend. President Rosenthal is in the lead, as expected, with 29% of the vote. However, Vice President Houser is actually very close behind with 27% of the vote, slightly unusual for an incumbent vice president, who would normally come in second but largely behind the current president. Nelzer is in third with 18% of the vote, Barson in fourth with 11%, Schluderman in fifth with 8% and Clarington in sixth with 6%, most of which is coming from her home region of Laneston/Vandover. Marco Nelson, though not running, still managed to rake in about 0.4% of the vote in the poll as a write-in candidate.

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Schluderman seems to be in second in the sparsely populated states of North and Guijarros, both home to large amounts of rice farms, and Nelzer seems to be in second to Houser in Trenchent State, the tech capital of Freedemia, where Rosenthal is in a surprising third. Houser is leading by a large margin in his home state of Franklins, getting a whopping 57% of the state’s votes with Rosenthal trailing with 16% in Franklins. Barson did best in the Savvenahsburgh area, known for being very lenient on “victimless crimes” and for championing privatization.

The first televised debate is expected to be on June 10th, aired on PWN.

Bill in response to Freedemian restroom shortage would reduce penalties for public urination

QUENTINSBURGH– Reeds Poplator Selena DiCostranado introduced a bill Friday afternoon addressing a problem related to the Freedemian restroom shortage in an unique way. The bill, currently simply dubbed Populus Bill 46, would lessen sentences/punishments for public urination. Essentially, the bill says public urination cannot be classified as a lewd act, and can only be punishable by law in the case of related vandalism or desecration/hate crimes.

The reasoning behind the bill, according to DiCostranado, is that public urination is something done out of desperation, not done for the purposes of being lewd. Even with Amendment 30, which switched the country from an indecent exposure model to an indecent behavior model and made non-lewd exposure legal in all 11 states, most ordinances continued to consider public urination “lewd”.

Currently, the legislature seems torn on the matter. Quentins Poplator Samantha Bond expressed concern that the country’s image as a clean, hygienic, beautiful nation would be at risk if people thought urinating on the side of the road or in public spaces was acceptable. Guijarros Poplator Jared Greenbrooks expressed concern that the bill, if passed, would set a dangerous precedent and could lead to something like public defecation becoming legal down the road.

Others supported the bill wholeheartedly, with the main reason for supporting it being the reduced punishment.

“It’s ridiculous that depending on the city, people have been fined, held for questioning, and even charged with lewd acts simply for not peeing on themselves when they couldn’t hold it anymore,” Trenchent Poplator Harrison Mead stated. “People have to pee, whether that’s in a toilet, in the grass, or in their pants. It’s not really a choice. Reducing the punishment for public urination to only being punishable when used for vandalism or desecration just makes sense.”

It does seem like the bill has a fair chance of passing the House of Populus, with the most recent stats estimating about 29 out of 47 Poplators are very likely to vote for the bill (a majority is 24). The House of Decisions is expected to vote that the decision only needs to be voted on by the House of Populus to become law.

While much of the attention was brought to the issue by then-vice-presidential candidate Diane Wooten-Whitaker peeing on herself during a live debate, the Freedemian restroom shortage has become a much more widely recognized issue over the past couple years, with studies and surveys showing that most Freedemians were choosing not to drink as much as they should for fear of not being able to find a public restroom, leading to greatly increased cases of heat stroke and dehydration-related illnesses and health problems.

Freedemia has in the past had an odd relationship with public restrooms, and with no ordinances in 99% of cities or towns requiring public restrooms and until recently, no statewide or nationwide requirements at all, many businesses and public places had opted to only have restrooms for employees or paying customers, some even going as far as to charge for bathroom usage. (Some lower level local courts had upheld these practices in the past, with the reasoning being the money would help pay for cleaning and maintenance.)

Some steps have been taken that are expected to make a difference over time, such as the passing of the slightly controversial RAWAA, which requires public businesses to provide public restrooms. However, in some places, including DiConstranado’s home state of Reeds, the shortage (as well as the rebellion among business owners refusing to comply with the law) is still bad enough that people are still finding themselves not able to find a restroom.

This bill comes in the midst of a greater move for the health and well-being of Freedemians, largely under the vice presidency of Patrick Houser. Other major recent moves have been about making sure water was accessible for all Freedemians, such as providing easier universal access to free drinking water (WAWAA) and removing water from “no food, no drink policies” (Walden v. VAULT). Healthcare reform is expected to happen in the coming months as well, with the emphasis being accessibility for all Freedemians, thus increasing the health of the country as a whole.