Candidates should have addressed students more
The NBC Republican Presidential Candidates Debate, hosted Monday at USF, provided a great opportunity for the Tampa area to get a firsthand look at the political issues in this year's election.
Yet, the candidates missed a real opportunity to address the students whose campus they visited, avoiding many college-age issues, including the pressing issue of the dismal job market for graduates.
Florida's unemployment rate is 9.9 percent, and the rate jumps to 17.8 percent when including those without full-time employment, according to the Department of Economic Opportunity. Mitt Romney introduced these statistics and briefly began discussing the need for jobs to improve the economy before quickly shifting to debate Cuban foreign policy.
This was characteristic of the wide-ranging debate that switched topics from Terri Schiavo to space exploration in a matter ofminutes. When asked about the DREAM Act, all four candidates rejected the idea that children of illegal immigrants could gaincitizenship by attending college - instead focusing on the act's military components. The issue was briefly discussed and, again, diverted to another subject.
Despite the college backdrop, neither tuition nor student loans were brought up during the discussion. There was also littlemention of health care, women's rights or gay rights - all hot-button issues that are important to the college-age demographic.
This may be in part because college students are not expected to be the key demographic for the Jan. 31 Florida primary. Debate moderator and Tampa Bay Times political editor Adam Smith told The Oracle he does not "think the college-age demographic is that significant" and that in "the Florida primary, people under 30 are probably going to be about 7 percent of the vote, which is not a huge chunk."
Yet, President Barack Obama's 2008 election win was greatly aided by his ability to capture the youth vote. According to a Pew Research Center study, Obama received 66 percent of votes from the under-30 age group.
Though much of Monday's debate centered on what eachcandidate would do opposite of the president, addressing young voters may have been one area in which the candidates could learn from Obama. In a race so close that three different candidates have won threedifferent primaries, that 7 percent could be what it takes to determine the front-runner for the race.
Perhaps just as moderator and NBC anchor Brian Williams felt obligated to say "Go Bulls!" at the debate's close, the candidates felt obligated to come to USF without fully addressing the students that comprise it.
The next Republican presidential debate is scheduled for Thursday at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville - another opportunity to acknowledge the college demographic. The candidates should take note and more fully engage students' concerns in their discourse.
Get Top Stories Delivered Weekly
From Around the Web
More usforacle News Articles
Recent usforacle News Articles
Discuss This Article
MOST POPULAR USFORACLE NEWS
GET TOP STORIES DELIVERED WEEKLY
FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER
LATEST USFORACLE NEWS
FROM AROUND THE WEB
- A New Prescription for Finding the Right Doctor
- Be on the Lookout for These Invasive Species
- It's Official: Women Are the Decision-Makers Even When It...
- Where the Jobs Are: Why Relocating May Be the Best Option
- Value of Education Brings Success Among Unique Student...
- Is Faith Really a Good Thing?
- Are Workers Taking Enough Time to Understand Their...
- Save Now With Proven High-Efficiency Gas Wall-Hung Boiler
- Some Jobs Really Are a Pain in the Back
- Are Your Investments Doomed by Overfunded Public Markets?
COLLEGE PRESS RELEASES
- 5 DAYS ONLY! Semi Annual Consignment Sale!
- Leading Digital Strategists Transform Digital Marketing In Business and Academia
- USA NETWORK AND VERIZON CHARACTERS UNITE COLLEGE TOUR TO VISIT SEVEN CAMPUSES ACROSS THE COUNTRY, ENGAGING STUDENTS TO COMBAT DISCRIMINATION AND DATING ABUSE
- OH HONEY ARE “SINCERELY YOURS” WITH NEW EP // HONDA CIVIC TOUR
- Mercedes-Benz Financial Services wants you to help “Drive Our Future”