(Gainesville, GA) On Sept. 26, 2016, the first presidential debate for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was streamed live at Brenau University in Thurmond McRae for any students who wanted to attend. It started at 8:45 p.m. with a facilitated discussion about the debate and the upcoming election. The event was part of Brenau’s initiative of “Conversation not Confrontation“ for this school year.
I talked to Sommer Stockton, a Brenau student that attended the live stream debate, for her perspective. Sommer is a Sophomore Mass Communications major who serves as the Sophomore Class President in the Student Government Association. Here is what she had to say:
What were your overall thoughts on the presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump?
“I enjoyed watching the debate and learning different sides of each candidate. This election is extremely important to college students because this will be the first time we are allowed to vote for a president. So I do highly encourage everyone to get out and vote. From the debate itself, I was a little disappointed because I have watched some speeches of both candidates saying what they will improve and fix in office. Yet at this debate, I didn’t see any facts of what their ideals are. Clinton was the best however; she gave several of her beliefs. I would have like to hear more beliefs from Trump.”
What could have been moderated in the debate? With each candidate?
“Trump could have controlled his ability to interrupt everyone. It was very difficult to listen to what both Clinton and Lester Holt were saying because he kept either cutting them off or telling them that they were wrong. Clinton was trying to sell herself too much. Several times in the debate she would say, “Go to hillaryclinton.com” or something of the like. It interrupted her flow of speaking and made it seem like she is pushing too hard. I would rather here the facts come from her mouth rather than read it online.”
Do you think Gary Johnson, the libertarian candidate, should have been able to participate in the debate since he is on the ballot?
“Yes, I do think Johnson should have been included. Especially because there is a high number of voters who are still undecided between which candidate to choose. I call it choosing the lesser of two evils. But, in the press and media, not many people are aware that there is another candidate to choose from. And I believe that if Gary Johnson does not compete in a presidential debate and become known, then people will meet him for the first time at the polls.”
What was your thought on the way the debate was covered and how the media was aired to watch? Specifically, what were your thoughts on it being shown live in Thurmond McRae at Brenau?
“I really enjoyed the fact that Brenau chose to show it. I probably would not have watched it had it not been shown. There were question and answer sessions in the beginning and we got to speak to others about what we thought of the candidates. It was a very enlightening experience to be able to talk to other Brenau students about their opinions as well.”
What is something you are looking forward to for the upcoming presidential debates of 2016 between Clinton and Trump?
“For the next presidential debate, I hope that Trump will stop or at least control when he interrupts someone else. I hope that Gary Johnson will be allowed to participate. I hope that the moderator will cut the candidates off, and refuse to continue letting them speak. I hope all candidates will come out with more facts and figures to persuade us to their side.”