Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump faced off for the first Presidential debate last night. Clinton came into the debate with high favorability to win, given her past experience as a public servant and her legal background.
Lester Holt moderated the debate and focused on: the “American Direction,” the candidates overall views of the country’s outlook, “Achieving Prosperity,” with questions on America’s economy and “Securing America,” a segment which focused on national security.
Clinton maintained her cool throughout the debate, answering evenly to questions and flubbing only slightly on some words. Trump was on edge and provided much side commentary to statements made by Clinton.
Both did not spend much time explaining their direct policies, but rather attacking each other’s lack of positions.
“It’s unfortunate that these are the two candidates American voters have to choose from,” President of UConn College Republicans Paul DaSilva said. “I think it was pretty disgraceful that Trump failed to apologize for his misogynistic comments at the end of the debate, and, instead, resorted to attacking Rosie O’Donnell again.”
Trump’s agitation was visible in the multiple times he drank out of his water glass and the unevenness with which he addressed both Clinton and Holt.
Clinton has been criticized in previous debates for the frequency at which she also drank out of her water glass, but has seemed to reign in the mannerisms that have given her problems in the past, i.e. excessive eye rolling.
“Well, I’m not a fan of either candidate,” DaSilva said. “So I’d just say quickly that I think Clinton won, overall.”
President of College Democrats, Megan Handau, also agreed with these statements.
“I think if it weren’t clear before tonight, this debate is showing everyone that we don’t have the ‘lesser of two evils,’” Handau said. “We have a bigoted, uninformed reality star who not only has a history of taking advantage of the working class and of exploiting tax loopholes, but has spouted the skeleton of actual policy proposals that, if put into action, would decimate our economy, bring us back decades in social justice and create a mockery of our nation in the international arena.”
“On the other hand, we have an experienced policy expert, with experience in the executive branch, in congress, and in foreign relations. Her plans have been analyzed by independent experts, and objectively are better for our country. She is respected and admired internationally. Even if you have your differences with Hillary Clinton, she is objectively better for our country than Donald Trump. She is someone we can be proud of, rather than apologize for and as Donald Trump would say, ‘that is the true way I feel,’” Handau continued.
Throughout the debate, Clinton had a fact-checker going on her website to check the accuracy of Trump’s statements. The link was classified as: “He literally said that.”
Trump did not have an equivalent on his page, but took to Twitter soon after stating inaccuracies in Benghazi, President Obama’s Foreign Policy and Clinton’s stance on Iran.
Non-partisan and non-campaign related fact checkers included PolitiFact, NPR and ABC News.
Students commented on these differences in the tactics of the candidates.
“Hillary managed to stay on the offensive, which I think was helpful to her,” fifth-semester Political Science and History major Jared Quigley said. “Trump was unable to work in digs at the Clinton Foundation, Benghazi and the emails in any meaningful way. I don’t think this debate will be a game-changer, but Trump’s inability to meaningfully attack Hillary gives Hillary the win in this round.”
Students can watch two more future debates, one on October 9 and another on October 19 before the election on November 8. There will be communal screenings offered through College Republicans and College Democrats, as well as through the cultural centers on campus.
Elizabeth Charash is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.