GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Hundreds of people were on hand Tuesday night when ECU’s college Republicans, Democrats, and Libertarians debated each other on the big issues facing the country.
The three groups were asked a series of questions, touching on topics like the Iraq war, ISIS, minimum wages and the Affordable Care Act.
College Republicans questioned the Affordable Care Act, calling it one of the worst laws they had ever seen.
“There are major insurance providers that are leaving Obamacare’s contract every day because they simply cannot afford to keep up with all these people under their new policies,” said Roger Villarreal.
College Democrats disagreed.
“It’s provided well over 10 million uninsured Americans to have access to care that they otherwise wouldn’t have had access to,” said Kristoffer Rixon.
Unlike the real presidential debate in a week, ECU’s debate also featured the college Libertarians, representing their candidate, Gary Johnson.
Bobby Fortune said in an election where the two main parties are so disliked, it is time for a third voice to be heard.
“A vote for the lesser of two evils is still a vote for evil,” Fortune said. “Don’t waste your vote.”
Republicans and Democrats also differed on whether the federal minimum wage should be raised to $15 an hour. Already, New York and California have raised their state minimum wages.
Fortune said the Libertarians offer a different view on the issue. They said Johnson wants to eliminate income tax, which would allow people to take home more money in each paycheck.
“Everything you take home at the end of every year, 50 percent of that has gone to some form of tax, whether its income tax from the federal or state government, a property tax, a sales tax,” he said.
The debate also touched on the military and battling ISIS. Democrats argued President Obama has done a good job defeating the radical group. Republicans said the president has avoided the problem and saying the words “radical Islamic terrorist.”
“You’re not identifying the problem, and you don’t know how to combat it, if you cannot even say the words,” said Wesley Foy. “This president is not combating Isis the way he should be.”
Organizers said they believe North Carolina is the most important battleground state and want to ensure younger people are making their voices heard.