Students leave Monday’s Presidential Debate with Confusion and Resolution

Ginny Katz Orange Media Network

Ginny Katz, Multimedia Contributor

Amidst cheers, laughs, groans and pizza, Beavers from all political backgrounds joined in multiple watching parties on Monday for the presidential debate. As the two front-runners, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and business man Donald J. Trump, took the stage, students packed classrooms and auditoriums to hear the differentiating stances on issues both candidates represent.

Unfortunately, many students were left unsatisfied in the lack of meaningful discussion on policies, including Amanda Vondras, Molecular and Cellular Biology PhD. Student.

“These debates seem to be more an exercise of character assassination rather than a discussion of issues that a lot of Americans want talked about, like unending war, mass incarceration, the war on drugs, race relation and a crippling national debt that our generation is going to be saddled with,” Vondras said.

As an organizer of the Libertarians at Oregon State University and Volunteer Director for the Johnson and Weld campaign in Oregon, Vondras notes that many voters may feel unnecessarily pressured into allowing their views to be corralled into one or two mainstreams of thought.

“There is nothing in our constitution that says that we have to have just two parties and cannot handle a third party,” Vondras said. “I suggest to anyone who is not satisfied with the two candidates to jump and pick Gary Johnson. Don’t wait for other people to jump if the libertarian ticket advances with ideas and policies that matter to you.”

Conversely, other students find stability in aligning behind the candidate that best voices the concerns they prioritize, even if they may not agree with their entire platform. Erica Fuller, OSU President Emeritus as well as national Program Director for College Democrats of America and Political Science senior is confident in her choice, although admittingly unsatisfied with the candidate. She highlights that democracy is not a popularity contest.

“I’m not a Hillary fan, but you don’t have to be!” Fuller laughs, “As long as you stand by the same ideas and morals. That’s how I know I can back her. After looking at both ends, I know that Trump will take us back 50 years in many ways. Hillary will help take us forward.”

For those stuck in between party identification and candidate concern, like OSU College Republicans President Tanner Lloyd, uncertainty is quickly settling in as election day looms in the future.

“I’m undecided, in voting.” Llyod admits. “I think a lot of people, like myself, are just waiting to see how things shake out. There’s a lot of things that can happen between now and Nov 8th.

“I’m looking forward to making use of this election year in getting people organized to make a difference in our own community.” Added Lloyd, “We try to focus less on the national, and more importantly, on what’s happening in here in Oregon.”

This first debate made national history as the most viewed presidential debate in American history. Showcasing that voters are undoubtedly searching for reassurance that the candidate they choose will uphold the position of Commander and Chief to their highest expectations. As 80 million people tuned in on Monday, many more will tune in for the second presidential debate, planned for October 9th. Voters can only hope that by then Trump will have prepared his debate technique more and Hillary will be more prepared for Trump, as the largely undecided world watches on.