As I was pondering a fall activity, I realized that history was being made: the libertarian party was holding its first primary in Iowa because they achieved major party status. I opted to reach out to the Libertarian party of Iowa candidates and we setup a debate at Drake University. I would moderate and I wrote the questions, fellow YAL member Hannah was the timekeeper and we had media come in and livestream the debate to Facebook.
I reached out to the University weeks in advance, the room request was approved along with all the accommodations I had asked for and the Drake political committee (a group of professors who essentially approve political events) had approved it as well, but upon arriving to the room and hour before to setup, there was an issue: next to nothing was there. None of the microphones, neither of the podiums, none of the chairs and only one of the tables. I ran to the Olmsted center to talk to people who worked for facilities and they refused to let me use any of that despite the fact no other group was using the equipment. We proceeded to have the debate without it and the voice quality was good, but I have a hard time expressing my utter disappointment towards Drake University for hindering our event, when I know full well that left-wing events don’t have these problems, and I plan to make the administration fully aware of this when I come back in the Spring.
The two candidates were Jake Porter and Marco Battaglia, and we managed to ask questions on specific issues to identify disagreements and differences between them. For instance, Porter wanted to eliminate the Sales tax, while Marco wanted to eradicate the Income tax. The debate lasted for roughly an hour and 30 minutes, and we had a multitude of questions varying from speed round questions where each could only use one sentence to respond to audience Q&A to specific questions on their stances. Afterwards, both candidates told me is the best line of questioning they received in a debate and appreciated the hardball questions we threw towards them. The debate had 30 or so people in attendance in person and was seen by thousands on Facebook. The primary was one week ago and Porter won with around 58% of the vote.