Politically tuned-in students share takes on the presidential candidates’ first debate

(Photo used by permission of Wikipedia Commons)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speak at the presidential debate.

The first presidential debates aired on Sept 26. Four students shared their reactions, although everyone interviewed said that neither Trump nor Clinton was their ideal candidate.

Trump supporter sophomore Blake Lincoln

“It was a tie.

“Hillary had prepared answers and sound bytes, and she didn’t address the truth when she was asked about the emails. Instead she shook them off and attacked Trump.

“I think he needs to get used to one-on-one debates. He’s not able to hide while others answer questions, like in the primaries.

“His main problem is his temperament, and I think he understands this for the next debate.

“I think Trump could have done a bit better. He shouldn’t have taken the bait from Hillary’s questions so often. Trump was pouty and angry, and most Americans think that he should have a better temperament. I wanted Trump to be more measured. ”


Clinton supporter freshman Heloise Schep

“Hillary won.

“There was a lot of tension, but I feel like Hillary did well. She was very organized and used a lot of facts. She acted more presidential and was more prepared.

“I really liked how she was very calm and stated her plans, especially the ones for our economy. She was clear on her goals, which is something that can get lost easily.

“There were a lot of times when Trump would interrupt her where I thought she needed to stand up for herself. It was a really big face-down, and she should be more determined and secure in her statements.”


Trump supporter freshman Garrett Shonkwiler

“I think Trump won. He’s been the underdog so far and he’s still losing by a small margin, but I think he might have won enough people to put him over the top.

“During the first part of the debate, he ruled the stage with comments in the middle of Hillary’s speech that got the audience laughing. In some cases, he made Hillary look incompetent.

“In the second half of the debate, I think Hillary played the role of the moderator.

“I think that the next debate will be the same, but the candidates will be more prepared and ready to attack each other.

“While people focus on Trump’s tax returns, he needs to focus on Hillary’s scandals: especially her emails.”


Clinton supporter senior Alexa Mathisen

“I think that Hillary won based on the facts that she used, but I don’t think anyone gained supporters because of this debate.

“For the first half, Trump was very composed, like he was trying to show a changed self, which was pleasantly surprising.

“I liked Hillary’s offensive tactics and the conversations about race relations and prison reforms.  

“I wish they had also talked about healthcare reform, especially mental-health care.

“I think that from the beginning Hillary was very personal instead of factual. She referred to Trump as ‘Donald.’ I wish she had kept the conversation more elevated and professional.

“Hillary should have made it more about policy and specific plans instead of playing off his ignorance or pushing his buttons.”

By Nicole Wolkov

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