Monarchs Monitor Presidential Debate on Campus
On Sept. 26 students gathered on the Old Dominion University campus to watch the first presidential debate of 2016. The debate was hosted by CNN and moderated by veteran news anchor Lester Holt. This presidential debate marked the twentieth debate since 1988 according to the introductory remarks before the debate began.
In previous election cycles, debates were held in-person before being available on the radio, and then on television. As technology changed, the mode of the debates also changed. The debate claimed the hashtag “#Debate2016,” as relevant to social media outlets such as Twitter. A majority of the debate was displayed in split-screen viewing which permitted the audience to see the opponent’s facial response to the opponent, while having full viewing access of the candidates as the debate occurred.
In what can be considered out-of-party standards, Secretary Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, wore a red pantsuit, and Mr. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, wore a black suit, white dress shirt, with a blue tie. The Democratic Party recognizes its party color as blue; whereas, the Republican Party recognizes red as its party color. Political candidates, as a rule of thumb, wear their respective party’s color at such publicly viewed events. The presidential candidates stood at podiums in front of a blue backdrop with words, believed to be from the Declaration of Independence, printed in script.
The College Republicans and the ODU Democrats both hosted viewing parties in the Webb Center. Currently, there are no recognized student organizations for Third Party campaigns or Independent voters.
Chelsi Klutch is the president of the College Republicans. Under her direction, College Republicans are engaging Monarchs on Tuesdays and Thursdays during Activity Hour registering students to vote in a non-partisan effort. Klutch looks to co-sponsor events, including the remaining presidential and vice presidential debates, in the future with the ODU Democrats and other student organizations. She advocates that all students are welcome to College Republican events regardless of party affiliation, including general meetings and special engagements.
“Trump has alternative good ideas. He is fresh as far as politics go and has not been in politics as long as Hillary has been. His experience with finance and jobs, his views on them both. People trust him and he will be able to help the country. It may be a close election, but it comes down to debates and volunteering,” Klutch said.
The ODU Democrats played “Debate Watch Party Bingo,” a fun activity while listening to the presidential candidates speak on various issues. Eriq Mccleary is a grassroots organizer that works with the ODU Democrats and emphasized, “politics are far off and seem foreign to students. [We’re] not here to argue, [we’re] here to open doors.”
Robbie Bradshaw is the president of the ODU Democrats and spoke about how the ODU Democrats have strong involvement and representation on campus. Jacob Dafoe is the organization’s vice president. Dafoe commented that watch parties are big events for their organization. When asked why he felt Clinton was a good presidential candidate, he said, “Most experienced candidate to run for president in decades. She has detailed policies and cares about people on an individual basis that Mr. Trump does not.”
The ODU Democrats and the College Republicans both offer opportunities for their members to participate in local campaigns and internships which may be paid or unpaid. Both have offices located on the second floor of the Webb Center. Find out more about each organization and their upcoming events on their respective social media pages and on Monarch Link.