Students view final debate as organized, issue-focused due to no open discussion, audience interference

(Photo used by permission of Creative Commons)
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton debate in the second presidential debate, aired Oct. 19.

The final presidential debate aired on Oct. 19 and was conducted in the traditional debate style. Four students share their reactions.

Freshman Clinton supporter Héloïse Schep

“I really think Hillary won. This debate focused a lot more on healthcare, the economy and the rising threat of terrorism.

“Hillary was the strongest on healthcare. Trump wants to completely repeal Obamacare, and she effectively pointed out that getting rid of a system America has put so much money into will make our healthcare crisis even worse.

“Of course, the issue of immigration came up. Trump started out with pointing out how immigrants bring drugs and said that there were mothers in the audience whose children have been murdered by immigrants. That is just so horrible.

“Clinton pointed out that all these immigrants have families and that most of them are good, helpful citizens. The lives of the immigrants who are innocent are so hard already and deporting all those people and their families and painting them as drug dealers and murderers is horrible.

“Clinton said that America is a nation of immigrants, and that’s true. Also, I loved her closing statement. Hillary has shied away from using her family in her campaign, but tonight Hillary spoke clearly about her family. She wants to help families stand up for women and help people of color.

“Trump often talked about Clinton’s husband and his actions; she is not Bill. She is not in charge of making his decisions and not in charge of defending him.

“She has had so much experience in the White House, so I think she will get things done.

“Once again, I was disappointed with the lack of specifics in Trump’s statements. He would talk about how he wants to improve the economy and just say, “We will get back our jobs, and we will have a machine of an economy,” and it’s great that he wants that, but how? I was really missing those specifics. And he kept interrupting her. He kept saying, “I have something to say! I have to respond to that!” and that is not how debates work.

“You don’t see Hillary interrupting him. And it’s not because she has nothing to say. It’s because she has a decent amount of respect, and he doesn’t.


Freshman Trump supporter Garrett Shonkwiler

“Trump definitely did better than he did in the first two debates, but did he do better than Clinton in this one? I’m not sure. Clinton is certainly a more skilled debater while Trump has a few problems.

“First of all, he doesn’t follow up on what he is asked. On the issues of the Bill Clinton rape allegations and one of Hillary’s emails stating her dream to have an open border, Trump could have easily attacked her but instead focused on defending himself, so Hillary easily dodged the question.

“It isn’t Hillary’s pivot away from certain questions that I have a problem with, though; I think anyone is expected to do that. It’s the fact the Trump allowed Clinton to ignore the tough questions.

“Secondly, Trump will often make references to a political event that the average voter might not understand. He’ll briefly touch on a topic, perhaps calling it a disaster, but then drop the issue altogether.

“One example that comes to mind is when Trump talked about ‘corruption’ in the FBI investigation of Hillary but gave no specifics. This left the viewer wondering what kind of corruption and to what extent.

“As always, Trump had no shortage of one-liners and quick comebacks that scored him points. Trump is good at taking advantage of the moment, but does not succeed in making longer speeches.

“This debate is very similar to the previous ones in the way that the candidates acted when on the offensive and defensive. However, Trump was better than he has been, now that he has more experience in debating her.

“This debate, he seemed more controlled than he has been and, ultimately, more presidential.”


Senior Clinton supporter Alexa Mathisen

“I think Hillary won, but it was definitely the closest debate yet. I thought both of the candidates kept the same temperament throughout. Neither seemed to get more angry or obnoxious than the other.

“The debate was the most organized of the three, and the moderator did a good job by the end of getting them to keep within their time periods.

“The audience was kept quiet and real issues were discussed. The scandals were not given as much time as in the past, in part due to Trump keeping pretty quiet this past week.

“I disagreed with the fact that the moderator was trying to make it an open discussion because it’s been proven that these two cannot debate through open discussion.

“I think Trump has possibly gained some of his supporters back through his performance in this debate that he lost because of the recent scandals.

“I thought it was still not as professional as it should be since they didn’t even shake hands afterwards, and he spoke so condescendingly towards her.

“I am very scared that neither candidate seems like they’re going to help this country after the election. Donald Trump talks about it being rigged and even said today that he wouldn’t support Hillary.”


Sophomore Trump supporter Blake Lincoln

“I think Trump caught Hillary on her being an insider and doing nothing while in Washington.

“He was calm and yet reassuring on his qualifications for the presidency.

“I don’t think a lot of people changed their minds.

“I think Trump will lose unless something drastic happens in relation to Hillary, or the polls are wrong. I think the polls may be wrong.”

By Nicole Wolkov

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