Presidential debate watch parties show wide array of student opinions on Trump and Clinton

Sarah Philips

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump took the stage Monday night for the first presidential debate of 2016, speaking on issues such as race relations, trade, jobs and, of course, each other.

Much of the debate centered around both candidates’ scandals: Clinton’s email server, Trump’s unreleased tax returns, Trump’s involvement with the debate over Barack Obama’s birth certificate and both of the candidates’ stances on the Iraq War.

Politically oriented organizations across campus held debate watch parties for their members, including University Democrats, College Republicans and the LBJ School of Public Affairs. 

Government sophomore Jordan Grundhoefer attended the CR watch party and said he was disappointed with both nominees after the debate.

“Both of the candidates could have done a better job of giving us their vision of America,” Grundhoefer said. “I will be voting for Donald Trump because I believe Hillary Clinton’s corruption and her constant lies to the American people will not make a good president.”

Economics sophomore Jerry Sun wants to watch more debates from Trump to see how he progresses.

“I am a Republican but I want to watch more debates and see more exactly if Trump is going to do more research and be more knowledgeable about this stuff,” Sun said. “I do wish there was more detail about specific numbers. Debates are a huge part of the election process. Personality is important too.”

UDems communications director Joseph Trahan said he believed Clinton showed clear strengths compared to Trump.    

“University Democrats can definitely say without hesitation that Hillary Clinton is more well-versed in policy, whether that be domestically and internationally,” Trahan said. “Her answers had more substance, while his were more repetitive. Donald Trump is all about being bombastic.”    

Patricia Zavala, a public affairs and Latin American studies graduate student, said neither major party candidate appealed to her, so she’s throwing her support to Green Party candidate
Jill Stein. 

“I just don’t feel satisfied with either candidate, and I think it’s important that we support third-party candidates such as Jill Stein,” Zavala said. “I don’t think we should have to compromise our values just to vote for somebody, we should vote for somebody who actually represents us.”    

Zavala said she didn’t hear much about the issue she’s most concerned about — immigration reform.  

“I didn’t hear very much about immigration reform, actually,” Zavala said. “For me, immigration reform is the most essential issue in the United States.”     

The next presidential debate between Clinton and Trump will be Oct. 9. Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine and Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence will face off in their debate on Oct. 4.

Cassi Pollock and Forrest Milburn contributed to this report.