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Western students gather in the Underground Coffeehouse to watch the first presidential debate of the 2016 election, Monday, Sept. 26. // Photo by Morgan Stilp-Allen.
Alex Halverson

Western students congregated in The Underground Coffeehouse to watch the first presidential debate, with many in the crowd supporting Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump.

“I was a Bernie Sanders supporter,” freshman Alexandra Flanagan said after stating she was supporting Clinton in the debate. “And now, obviously, I’m very anti-Trump because he preaches hate, and he doesn’t really give any information on what he’s talking about.”

" made him sound like what he had to say was more important than the question that was being asked.”

Andrew Boedigheimer

Trump’s claims were sometimes met with laughter and criticism, but freshman Carson King thought the candidate performed well.

“I would say that Trump seems to be doing better in the debate,” King said. “Clinton’s using basic debating tactics, which seem kind of childish, while Trump is switching it up, and everybody’s sick of hearing politicians debate.”

Both candidates interrupted each other as is common in debates, but students felt Trump’s were more inappropriate and numerous than Clinton’s.

“When Trump interrupted the moderator, it made him sound like what he had to say was more important than the question that was being asked,” freshman Andrew Boedigheimer said.

Boedigheimer thought Trump’s arguments may have appealed more to undecided voters as television applause was boisterous after his ending statements.

Freshman Allison Greener noticed Clinton interrupted Trump when he had already cut off her own point and supported Clinton for her willingness to stand up to that.

After moderator Lester Holt stated to Trump that stop-and-frisk policies were deemed unconstitutional due to its prejudice against African-American and Latino young men, Trump responded by saying Holt “was wrong.” Trump’s actions toward the moderator prompted the biggest negative reaction at the Underground and caused a student to leave.

Clinton reaching out to police chiefs and addressing gun and racial violence were points Greener and senior Kalyn Erickson both agreed were highlights of Clinton’s debate.

Any reasonable statements Trump said came after Clinton made similar claims, senior Drew Falabella said. Falabella referenced Clinton’s resume as a reason why she should have the upper hand in the election.

Falabella also defended Clinton’s email scandal, which was a source of contention in the debate alongside Trump’s tax returns.

“The emails have already been investigated, and they’ve been WikiLeaked, so you can look at them if you want to,” Falabella said. “That’s one mistake you can make, and it’s already exposed.”

The next presidential debate will be on Sunday, Oct. 9. Clinton and Trump’s running mates will be debating on Tuesday, Oct. 4.


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