As Georgia positions itself as a state on the verge of turning purple, it has become a hotbed of political activity for the upcoming 2020 election.
Atlanta will host the fifth Democratic Presidential Debate on Wednesday, November 20 at Tyler Perry Studios, featuring the top 10 candidates for a two-hour showdown on who will become the candidate.
For the Democrats in Athens, the location of the debate shows that their party could take the state next November.
“I think this speaks volumes about how far we’ve come in transforming Georgia’s political landscape,” said Gabriel Shippy, vice president of community engagement for the Athens-Clarke County Democratic Party. “We are clearly a battleground state, and Clarke County has a big role to play in that.”
Shippy is looking for locations for Debate Watch Nights, which ACC Democrats have hosted for each debate. He chooses different locations to encourage different people to come, which he says has been successful so far.
The debate is hosted by MSNBC and the Washington Post. An all-female panel, including MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, NBC Foreign Correspondent Andrea Mitchell, NBC White House Correspondent Kristen Welker and Washington Post White House reporter Ashley Parker, will host the event.
The next Debate Watch Night will be at the Downtown Little Italy Pizzeria.
“We are proud to stand with all who exercise their rights and democracy,” said Richard Hallmark, an employee of Little Italy, who often discusses politics with his colleagues and broadcast portions of the restaurant impeachment hearing.
Wednesday, poll favorites Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren will share the stage with Cory Booker, Tulsi Gabbard, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Tom Steyer and Andrew Yang.
Shippy said there isn’t a single candidate who is more popular with the county party right now, which sparks some good talk at watch nights and other events. He noted that climate change and workers’ rights are hot topics for many members.
UGA Young Democrats executive director Jack Henry Decker said the campus organization is also interested in climate change, although he hasn’t noticed much discussion of the issue in other debates. .
“They haven’t talked about the climate at all, which is obviously disheartening because it’s such a big issue for a lot of us. You have people who are going to have to clean up the mess left by the baby boomers, ”Decker said.
Decker expects the debate to focus on the impeachment hearing, although he hopes they also talk about healthcare, the 1% tax and the environment.
In addition to these topics, students said they were interested in hearing policy plans on gun control, abortion, and student loan debt.
But Yang supporter Patrick Nercessian said these important topics were overblown, especially now that we are in debate 5.
“At this point, what more can we say about health care? Said the junior computer science major. “Everyone is talking about the exact same things the media covers, but Yang is talking about things that people are not as aware of that are always issues. “
To discuss these differences in platform points, campus organizations are also hosting watch nights.
Decker will attend the debate at the UGA Young Democrats Watch Party, co-hosted by the Alliance of Undocumented Students and the Athenian Chapter of the Young Democratic Socialists of America, at Caldwell Hall from 7:30 p.m.
“The reason it’s important to have stuff like this is because we want to make sure that we not only have a bunch of progressive students on campus, but we are actually starting to connect a little points, ”Decker mentioned.
Students in the Certificate Program in Public Affairs Communication at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication will gather at the Globe to eat and watch the debate.
“We wanted to give our students a place to watch the debate and discuss the implications for the elementary school, especially from a communications perspective,” said Carter Chapman, PAC media relations member. “We also want to foster a greater sense of community among our students and give them an outlet to discuss elementary school tactics and events.”
Check back with The Red & Black for live coverage of the Atlanta Democratic Debate.