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.