I am not sure that this particular election cycle has been particularly pleasant for anyone in America - but there are ways to make it more enjoyable. In February, while I was at National Fly-In in New Hampshire I had the chance to watch a debate of Presidential Candidates with fellow Grangers - and it was a BLAST! Besides just being a blast there are a few great reasons to host a viewing party of your own:
Top 6 Reasons to Host a Party:
Build community amongst the Grange
You and your guests are going to have a good time
This is an excellent way to get people excited about voting in the 20016 election
It offers an opportunity to educate people about the candidates’ stances on the issues - including what the Minnesota State Grange’s stance are on the issues
A debate party offers an opportunity to create visibility for the Grange if you do a press release and/or Op Ed relating the debate to current voter participation
Your gathering offers an opportunity to talk about your Grange’s current activities.
Dates of upcoming debates:
1st Presidential Debate: September 26, 2016
Vice Presidential Debate: October 4, 2016
2nd Presidential Debate: October 9, 2016
3rd Presidential Debate: October 19, 2016
Put a little fun back into this election with your very own Presidential Debate Watch Party! Here's how:
Let’s get started with the most important part of any debate watching party...really any party...the food. Here are a few ideas on some patriotic foods to make for your party. Links to recipes are listed below.
Patriotic Snack Mix
Mini Fruit Pizzas
Cranberry Sparkler Mocktail
Honey Bleu-Cheese Drizzled Strawberries
Red, White, and Blue Popcorn
Guiding a Discussion about the Debate: Some Sample Questions to Get Things Started
Before the Debate Begins
Thinking about and preparing for the debate before it takes place enables you to get the most from watching it. It will also help familiarize you with the candidates and issues. The preparation will help you focus on what to look for in the debate so that you will get the information you need before deciding how you will vote.
It will help if you take some time before the debate to:
Follow the campaign to learn about the candidates and their backgrounds;
Find out what the important campaign issues are;
Decide what issues are most important to you and/or the State Grange of Minnesota - to know what is important to SGMN read through our current policy statement
Think about the questions you may have and the information you want to get from the debate to help you in your decision making;
Open your mind to new opinions/impressions of the candidate regardless of party affiliation.
Starting the Discussion
It will be up to you to get a discussion going after the debate. Use this discussion guide below as a tool or reference if that is helpful for you, but let your discussion be open.
Are you familiar with the responsibilities the candidates would hold in the elected position for which they are running? Did this discussion help you to see how they would carry out their work?
Was there a dominating theme to the debate? If yes, what was it? Was it a theme you feel is relevant to the current political climate in Minnesota and your community?
How did the candidates respond to the questions that were posed? Were they straightforward, evasive or somewhere in between? Did this impact your opinion of the candidates?
Did the candidates put forward specific remedies or speak more thematically?
Did the candidates touch upon issues that are important to you and/or the State Grange of Minnesota? How did their responses compare with what you would like to hear from politicians?
Were there any questions that you felt were especially useful?
Are there important issues that were left out of the debate?
Did you strongly agree or disagree with any candidate responses? Was there anything missing from the responses that you would like to have heard?
How would you answer the questions that were posed tonight?