This past Monday night more than 100 million individuals tuned into the first presidential debate of the election season; this is reportedly the highest viewership of a debate in history and many of our student body at Bethel had the chance to be a part of that viewing audience. The Beacon decided to gain some perspective as to student’s reactions towards the debate. Not surprisingly, several students had very strong opinions in regards to this event, while others felt that, in summary, the debate was a waste of both theirs and America’s time.
“I wasn’t surprised with the way that they both acted towards each other," stated Alyssa Cavander who is a general music major at Bethel, "it was kind of childish in my opinion. But, it kind of was what I expected would happen when the two candidates got together.”
Jessica Carter, a music major at Bethel, had this to say: “I am not for either of the candidates but I wasn’t really surprised at the way Donald Trump answered his questions; he didn’t really have any answers he basically said the same things he always says.”
Carter continued and stated, “Hillary definitely had good things to say I just don’t trust her judgment when it comes to governing our country, but she does have more experience than Trump. Trump’s just a joke at this point in my opinion.”
Another student, Mella Coffey, stated, “When something or someone is saying that Trump can’t do a specific action, Trump can be very ferocious at proving what he can do or that it can be done. To me, that was evident in the debate and that is part of what’s made him successful.”
Vincent Tomasino, a criminal justice major, stated, “One big thing that I noticed was that they both very rarely seemed to answer the question; they seemed to dance around the issues a lot and avoid really talking about the issue. I think Trump was slightly better in that department but what he said still didn’t make any sense.”
Tomasino also stated his opinion of the strategies being used during the debate.
“Trumps tactics were very strong," said Tomasino, "Hillary’s tactics felt as if she was avoiding saying her actual stances. She continually said what she isn’t going to do rather than what she will do.”
Devin Hubbard, who is a double-major in youth ministry and intercultural studies stated, “I’m not a Trump supporter, but I felt like the mediator seemed a little biased because he asked a lot more follow up questions, fact checking and difficult questions to Trump and not so much to Hillary. I felt on certain topics, that there was a lack of substance and depth that was talked about, instead they were just restating the issues that were presented in the question, especially as it relates to the race issues in the US,”
In regards to the tactics that were used in the debate, Hubbard had this to offer:
“I think it was interesting how Hillary would respond to the bashing from Trump, how she’d smile and have her chin up really high trying to win the crowd over. Trump just had a lack of substance, Hillary had substance in the discussion about foreign policy and such.”
An engineer major, Hunter Breummett, stated, “There was a lot of interrupting of each of the candidates . . . I think they both brought in good points."
Political science major, Ethan Hunt stated, “I thought that Trump gave Hillary a lot of snide remarks . . . I think that what he was saying was not very mature. Hillary looked a lot more presidential and more prepared than Trump did.”
And in regards to the tactics used within the debate, he stated, “I think Trump has tried to make a dirty campaign and that really benefits him when it gets to that kind of thing and I don’t think Hillary’s using his tactics as much in terms of the nastiness but I do think that she is kind of engaging in the same kind of battle that he wants her to engage in; fighting back against Trump.”
As each individual had an obvious reaction to the debate, they were also asked who they felt had won the debate and if it had affected their voting choice.
“When it comes to being more prepared and who looked better I would say Hillary. I don’t plan on voting really, but if I were to have voted, strictly based on the debate I would unfortunately go with Hillary because she was more prepared,” stated Cavander.
“Hillary by far," stated Carter, "I don’t agree with anything she has to say, but as far as the questions that were asked Donald Trump had nothing to say. Hillary actually had goals and plans for how to get things done. It didn’t change how I’m going to vote because I’m not voting for either of them. It did give me a little peace of mind knowing that if Hillary wins, she has the experience and I trust that she can handle it, I just don’t trust that she’ll make good decisions."
“I would say Hillary won the debate, because she was a better speaker," stated Tomasino, "It’s hard to say if it affected my vote. I don’t really like either of the candidates at all. I might go with Trump but that would be entirely based on what I actually know about both candidates rather than the debate. I feel like Trump is more of a gamble where Hillary is just corrupt."
“I would say I think Hillary performed and answered questions better than Trump, but also not that she did an amazing job," stated Hubbard, "I’ve been very much on the fence as to who I’m voting for, I’m leaning more towards Hillary than I would Trump."
“I would say that Trump won," stated Breummett. "I think he brought in more points and stayed in the allotted frame-times. It didn’t affect my debate because the things I heard from the candidate I was going to vote for, their points drove home the issues that I care about."
“I think the media outlets won because they got 80 million viewers," said Hunt. "I think Trump did win by a little bit because of the more name recognition that he’ll get."
Even on our small Bethel campus, the opinions are various and no single person appears to really have exactly the same opinion. No matter who you are or what political party you claim, the debate on Monday obviously had a large impact on individuals throughout the nation. It will surely be an interesting next couple months, politically speaking. No matter which individual wins, the political face of our nation is sure to be changed for many years to come.