Students react to a heated second presidential debate

WCU students gathered in the UC to watch the presidential debate, Oct. 10, 2016. Photo by Chris Lang.

WCU students gathered in the UC to watch the presidential debate, Oct. 10, 2016. Photo by Chris Lang.

Around 60 students gathered on Sunday, Oct. 9, to watch and comment on the second presidential debate. The Student Democracy Coalition (SDC) and Last Minute Productions hosted the watch party.

The audience in the WCU UC was vocal and cheered for every haymaker dropped on each candidate and it seemed the room was evenly split between Trump and Clinton supporters.

The debate between the Republican candidate, Donald J. Trump, and Democratic candidate, Hillary R. Clinton, took place at the Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Anderson Cooper of CNN and Martha Raddatz, the Chief Global Affairs Correspondent at ABC, moderated the debate.

The debate was in a town hall setting format where half of the questions were asked by citizen participants and the other half were asked by the moderator based on topics of broad public interest as reflected in social media and other sources.

Trump and Clinton square off in the second presidential debate. Photo from CNN.

Trump and Clinton square off in the second presidential debate. Photo from CNN.

The heated debate got to some audience members as an argument between two students broke out after the debate was over. The debate left students with mixed emotions.

“I thought it contained a few surprises and unexpected focuses but in this election a surprise is what we are beginning to expect,” said WCU student, Tommy Riggs.
WCU junior Tyler Tarbet described the debate as wild and crazy and described the moderators as ‘horrible.’

“ Clinton is a stone cold liar and Trump can’t keep his composure,” added Tarbet.

However, WCU senior Van Leaming thought both candidates did better.

“Trump was very well controlled when it came to the last question about finding something good about the other person unlike Clinton who used to fit her agenda. Clinton seemed to do a good job when it came to helping out the middle class through her policies on health care and taxes,” said Leaming.

As VOX reports in two polls, CNN/ORC and YouGov, consisting of debate watchers, Clinton won the debate. At the same time the focus groups that several networks had were not as consistent. Real Clear Politics collection of polls shows Clinton with an 11 points lead in general election.

“Honestly with that, I think Clinton obviously  won that one,” said WCU student, Austin Page. “Clinton did a great job in answering every question with great integrity unlike Trump who dodged a lot of questions directed at him.”

The debated featured discussion topics such as taxes, health care, counter terrorism and foreign policy. The majority of the debate was geared toward going after the integrity of the opponent. The tension between the two was shown at the start of the debate when the candidates did not shake hands when they got on the stage. What followed was a 90-minute insult battle where each candidate brought up scandals and mishaps each candidate has faced.

The leaked tapes of Trump were among the first questions discussed in the debate. Trump began with saying that the tape was just “locker room talk” and that is not who he is. Clinton then stated the “video shows exactly who Donald Trump is.” Donald Trump thought his statements was just words and what Bill Clinton did is much worse.

See this part of the debate and the exchange between the candidates.

Trump’s comment toward Clinton, “because you’d be in jail,” was one of the most discussed moment during the debate on social media according to an article on ABC news. This came from Clinton responding to the threat made by Trump to instruct his Attorney General to appoint a special prosecutor who would investigate her deleted emails.

See Trump’s jab at Clinton 

Another entertaining debate down with what it seems another victory for Clinton. The presidential candidates have one more debate on Oct. 19 to persuade voters to vote for them.


Chad Grant contributed to this story