Like their parties’ platforms, Case College Republicans vice president Andrew Breland and Case Democrats’ treasurer Ben Robertson, the two groups’ representatives in Case Western Reserve University’s Oct. 25 debate, could not be more different.
The differences begin with how each became interested in politics. For Breland, it has been a lifelong interest. He has volunteered for the Republican Party since the age of 12 and was known as a “politician” in high school.
However, for Robertson, the interest in politics did not manifest itself until he entered college. While he often discussed politics in high school with friends, it did not play a major role in his life.
Robertson never had debate experience prior to the roundtable discussion; Breland was part of his high school’s debate team and participates in mock trial at CWRU.
Breland plans on going to law school and pursuing politics; the English, history, and political science triple major has a seat in CWRU’s law school due to the pre-professional scholars program.
Robertson, on the other hand, is studying mechanical engineering.
Despite these many differences, the argument can be made that the two do share at least one similarity – both became active in their party due to strong conviction on a specific issue.
However, following the theme, the specific issues do differ. Robertson’s passion is education policy. He is firm believer that the government should help provide equal opportunity for everyone to have access to strong education opportunities.
“Success is directly related to education,” Robertson claims.
Robertson believes that having enough funding to have well-equipped teachers and manageable class sizes is key to a school’s success and that the Democratic Party best addresses this issue. He has seen the effect of school budget cuts firsthand, as his mother is a teacher.
Robertson opposes the voucher system supported by the Republican Party. He believes that the weakening of the Department of Education would ultimately lead to a further division between the opportunities of differing socioeconomic classes.
Breland’s focus is on economic and constitutional issues. A firm believer in smaller government, Breland supports a low tax rate and letting the states decide social issues.
“Republican economic philosophy makes sense,” Breland said. “I don’t understand people who don’t think that I should be entitled to my own money.”