For a few reasons, we wanted to make sure you had a sense of what to expect for our debate watch party on Thursday night. The debate doesn't begin until 9 p.m., and our doors open at 6:30 p.m.. This is going to be great, and you'll want to be here for the whole thing.
Downtown is going to be a bit of a mad house. We heartily recommend public transit. The RTA has a free trolley bus that runs from Public Square to CSU and back again, which can help. Also, the Health Line is a pretty excellent choice, too. Also, bikes and feet are also pretty reliable. If you do drive, our friends at The 9 have a valet that's pretty useful and costs $25. Self parking in our lot will be pricey, too. (It's Cleveland's night to shine in the national spotlight, so hey, you may as well splurge, right?)
What to expect
In collaboration with our partners at the Cleveland Foundation, the Cleveland YP Senate and ideastream, we've planned an evening of engagement, civil, civic dialogue, informed analyisis, and, well, no small amount political theater.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and so does our cash bar. We'll have some snacks (but you should probably plan on eating dinner elsewhere). At 7 p.m., we'll start an hour of roundtable dialogues on the national issues that are shaping the election and also seem to be the most important locally (education, climate, immigration, race, economic development, foreign policy, and healthcare). Those roundtable dialogues will be facilitated by volunteers from the Cleveland Foundation and the Cleveland Young Professional Senate (YPS), with a different topic for each table. You'll have a chance to table hop, too, so you might start thinking about your top three issues.
At 8 p.m., we start our panel conversation, which will air live on WCPN. Ideastream's Nick Castele will moderate the dialogue, and the panelists are Karen Beckwith of Case Western Reserve University's political science department, John Green of The University of Akron's Bliss Institute of Applied Politics, and Jakiel Sanders of Cleveland YPS. That panel will be like every other City Club forum - 30 minutes of moderated dialogue and 30 minutes of Q&A with the audience. We'll wrap that up as the debate introductions get underway (with ten candidates to introduce, Fox News will start those intros at 8:50 p.m.)
At 9 p.m., the debate starts!
A final thought
Very little gets people quite as engaged and passionate as politics, and you can anticipate that among those joining you at the debate watch party will be people who might disagree with you on some issues. With that in mind, it's worth reminding ourselves what a Free Speech forum is all about--bringing people together to hear from all sides and to engage in spirited, civil conversation. The words of one of our founders, Ralph Hayes, might be worth recalling. He penned the Creed of the City Club, which opens, "I hail and harbor and hear men [and women] of every belief and party, for within my portals prejudice grows less and bias dwindles." So, when we find disagreement, let's hail, harbor and hear from all, let's ask questions, and let's enjoy the engagement and see if our bias dwindles.