Voter apathy may exist at some schools, but it is certainly not a problem at The University.
Close to 200 students filled the Moskovitz Theater and watched the first presidential debate between candidates Donald Trump and Secretary Hillary Clinton on Monday.
The event was co-hosted by the College Republicans, College Democrats, Cross Cultural Center and Campus Ministries with strong student representation from both political parties.
The debate was an hour and a half and focused primarily on national security and economic issues such as taxes and job growth. For sophomore and Democrat Emily Bluhm, creating new jobs is one of the most important issues in this election.
“I’m going to be out of college in two or three years and if there aren’t any jobs around, then what am I going to do? That’s one of my major concerns, personally,” Bluhm said, adding, “I thought the debate was like any other debate. Basically, two politicians say what they want to do without saying how they are going to do it.”
Carson Clabeaux, president of the College Republicans, described the debate as having “no real surprises.”
“At the end of the day, both candidates need to be more clear and concise and inclusive to the bases they are trying to reach,” Clabeaux said. “I don’t think that’ll happen but that’s what should happen.”
Carson joined the College Republicans as a first-year student in 2013.
“There were about eight members back then. Our current active list is over 50 members,” Clabeaux said. “I joined because it aligned with my viewpoints, but furthermore it acted as a vessel for me to grow and to guide my own thought process.”
Sophomore Farrah Wakefield referred to the debate as an “insult contest.” She feels that ISIS and cyber security are two of this election’s biggest issues, along with the economy.
“I personally like Trump’s platform,” Wakefield, a registered Republican, said. “One of the things I specifically like about him is his policy on abortion. Current Republicans are completely pro-life. He would change it so that it would be legal in cases of rape and if the mother’s life is in jeopardy and I support that.”
However, Trump and Clinton are arguably two of the most unpopular
candidates in American history.
“I think Hilary Clinton is very involved in this election and that makes me a little bit nervous,” Bluhm said. “I have a feeling of uneasiness for the entire election.”
Zackary Tamimi, a senior and a registered Democrat, describes Clinton as “the lesser of two evils.” Tamimi is a political science major at The University, a member of NextGen Climate and a former member of the Bernie Sanders campaign.
He sees college as an environment where he can discuss politics with other people and “actually do something about it, rather than just practice in theory,” he said. Tamimi encourages students to get involved in the political process.
“If you don’t, your voice will not be heard and you will have to live with the consequences,” he said.
The next debate is on Sunday, Oct. 9. Students are encouraged to watch the remaining two debates so that the decision they make in November will be an informed one.