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Mace & Crown | August 22, 2017

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Third Presidential Debate Brings Arguments to a Close

Third Presidential Debate Brings Arguments to a Close

T.J. Thompson
Contributing Writer

College Democrats and the Student Government Association hosted a debate watch party at Strome Entrepreneurial Center on campus Wednesday night. This was the third and final debate between U.S. presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

The evening began with a welcome from representatives of the SGA. This included an open group discussion regarding issues important to students in attendance. When asked which ideas those in attendance would like to hear the candidates discuss, the suggested topics included gun control, clean energy, closing the gender wage gap, marijuana legalization and free college.

Open conversation concluded just prior to the candidates taking the stage on television. As Clinton and Trump were introduced, attendees at Strome settled in for the final debate, hoping it would be less like a reality television show than the other debates were.

Moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News welcomed the two participants. He settled into questions focusing first on the Supreme Court. Currently, the U.S. Senate is stalling on President Obama’s most recent selection to replace the late Justice Scalia after his passing until a presidential elect is chosen on Nov. 8.

The question went first to Clinton, who stated her nominations would uphold the laws and create a better future for the country.  Trump attacked Justice Ginsburg for her comments against him, then shifted his response to gun rights and his list of nominees for the empty position if he wins.

The open discussion following the first question narrowed down to gun rights and women’s rights. Clinton was attacked on both topics – first her outrage on a Second Amendment decision she claimed was an attempt to protect toddlers from gun violence. Trump then went after her support of a woman’s right to choose whether or not to have an abortion.

Trump zeroed in on defunding Planned Parenthood, despite them performing many other essential services for women besides abortions, such as cancer screenings and providing women with birth control.

The conversation moved to immigration. Trump desires to build a wall along the U.S. and Mexico border while Clinton seeks immigration reform. Clinton also attacked Trump’s use of and refusal to pay undocumented workers in building Trump Towers in Manhattan. The back-and-forth arguing, complete with Trump’s multiple interruptions, carried over from the previous two debates into this one, especially on this topic.

Trump turned to Wiki Leaks releasing emails from Clinton. Her defense was the fact that these hacks have been linked to the Russian government in an attempt to influence the election and his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

By this point in the debate, students who attended the debate-watch party began to lose interest. Other topics included the economy, human rights crisis in Syria, Iraq and the national debt. Conversations in the room were overpowering the volume of the television.

Students still paying attention were more interested in the erratic behaviors of the candidates instead of their words. This sums up the experience of the overall 2016 election cycle, due to the fact that many Americans feel it has lacked professionalism and content.