Debate watch sees massive turnout by student body

4 mins read

Bipartisan event highlights unease on campus as Nov. 8 election looms

By Brooke Winters 

At a joint event held by Drew Democrats and Drew Republicans, the first Presidential Debate of the 2016 election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was aired in the McLendon lounge. This election has been called one of the most divisive in recent political history. This extreme partisanship played out during the debate, with both Trump and Clinton accusing one another of lies. Riddled with interruptions, callouts, and sure-to-be future sound bites, this debate maintained an audience of about 84 million viewers, the most watched in American history. Drew students of various political backgrounds attended the event.

Before the debate began, Charlie Yarwood (’19) said, “I’m not sure what to expect from this debate. Trump can be a bit of a live wire and very unpredictable.”

Drew students had many reasons for tuning in Monday night. Some felt compelled to watch the debate of the first election they were eligible to vote in. Others watched in order to fulfill a requirement for a class.

During the debate, Nick De Furia (’19) said that, “What I hope to get out of the debate is that people realize Hillary Clinton is a monster and needs to be stopped. Third party candidates need to be given a place on the stage, particularly the Libertarian Party.” De Furia went on to say that ideally, he would vote for a candidate like John Kasich, but in the end he does not support Clinton for president.

As the debate unfolded, the candidates swapped tense insults with one another, often avoiding the moderator’s questions in the process. Another student, Anna Gombert (’20), echoed the sense that civility was lost in the debate. She said, “I’m here tonight because I’m very interested in politics. I’m supporting Hillary in the debate, and I’m hoping this debate will be civil. Right now, that does not seem like the case.”

After the debate’s end, Hannah Kohn (’16) said, “As a Women and Gender studies major, gender was all over the stage tonight. Trump reiterated his misogyny, and Hillary effectively called him out on it. On top of that, she outlined in so much in-depth policies that will work while he desperately tried to interrupt and employed childish tactics. I know who I’m voting for.” The debate seemed to cement students’ opinions rather than change their support for either candidate or lack of support for any candidate.

Professor Sangay Mishra in the Political Science department also gave his reaction upon the debate’s end, saying, “My expectations were along the lines in which the debate unfolded. I expected Hillary to speak a certain way while Trump gave a more general attack on Clinton. People came out of the debate feeling the same way. Maybe moderators should do some more fact checking in future debates. Overall, it was a good debate.”

The next Presidential debate stylized as a town hall will be on Oct. 9 with Anderson Cooper moderating.

[Feature Image by Dalton Valette/News Editor]

[Caption: Students and professors gathered in the co-sponsored event from Drew Democrats and College Republicans to watch the first Presidential debate in McLendon Lounge]


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