Back on September 26th, many hardworking CPS students sacrificed their precious homework time to watch the first live presidential debate of 2016. The debaters and Presidential Nominees, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, prepared to face off for an hour and a half in New York to discuss issues from three topic areas – “achieving prosperity, America’s direction, and securing America.”
Unfortunately, both candidates were lacking on specifics, making general statements of action without mechanisms, or with only drastically simplified mechanisms. For example, simply increasing taxes on the wealthy wouldn’t automatically bring about Hillary’s affordable childcare and debt-free college ideas. On the other hand, Trump had even less of a plan, but instead kept repeating how much of a mess America is in.
In U.S. History class, Mr. Song told us how presidential campaigns are often negative, i.e. centered around impending doom. Keeping with this trend, Trump kept noting how much other countries are stealing from us, how we’re losing our jobs, etc. In fact, he all but described America as a third-world country, declaring that it “has tremendous problems… we have a country that needs new roads, new tunnels, new bridges, new airports, new schools, new hospitals… we don’t have the money.” (To which Clinton responded, “Maybe because you haven’t paid any federal income tax for a lot of years.”)
In addition to negativity about the country, both candidates spent ample time criticizing each other. Clinton accused Trump of racism, while Trump made some nonsensical comments about Hillary’s lack of “stamina.” (In fact, he repeated the word “stamina” four times within the span of 10 seconds, a perfect example of the redundant repetition that perfectly exemplified this debate.)
Here’s what CPS students from all classes thought about the debate:
- Trevor S. (’17) speaks on Trump’s racism getting “harder,” and (jokingly) claims he would vote for Trump, and calls on the youth of America to vote for Hillary.
- “I liked how Donald Trump started out really racist but he got more and more racist as the speech went on. Like you’d think: hey, you can’t get worse than ‘beauty pageant winner was fat,’ but he got worse. And I was like, ‘You go, Trump!’ I thought he’d start out hard and stay hard, but he started out kind of hard and got harder! And when he said ‘I got $650 million,’ that was totally a lie. I really thought the laws around gun control with police officers were important, because Donald Trump quoted the ‘stop and frisk’ law which is totally ridiculous, because he said it worked out well, which shows how little he knows about the country. Stop and frisk was really racist.”
- “If I could vote, I would vote for Trump, for sure. I’m a Trump man. He speaks the truth. Imagine a wall, though, that would be cool, right?”
- “I would like to tell the youth of America that voting is an important thing to do, and we need all of you to band together and vote. Because you know, hopefully the election will be a landslide in Hillary’s favor, and every vote counts. We need you, youth of America over the age of 18, to vote for Clinton, so we don’t become a dictatorship.”
- Sasha M. (’18) thinks the debate was kind of funny (but not really), and would vote for Clinton.
- “I thought the presidential debate was kind of funny, but at the same time, not funny at all because these are our two options for president. Honestly, neither of them really gave any concrete ways to solve problems, so the most interesting part for me was how they both attempted to best the other one in terms of keeping their calm.”
- “If I had to vote for one, I would vote for Clinton. I’m not a Trump man like Trevor.”
- Jacob L.D. (‘20) says Trump is unprepared, rude, and ineffective on the immigration front. He would vote for Bernie Sanders.
- “I think that Trump and Hillary are as different as people could be. Trump is so outspoken and yet he has no idea what he is saying, and Hillary seems to be better-researched and more fact-based. Like, Trump doesn’t seem to care much if what he says is true. Trump likes to say ‘YOU’RE WRONG’ even if they’re right. So, he likes to interrupt the moderator and Hillary.”
- “I think immigration was interesting. Trump has no plan for what he is going to do, and I don’t think his wall-building scheme is going to work so well.”
- “Climate change! Vote for Bernie Sanders.”
- Sonia B. (‘19) enjoys Secretary Clinton laughing at Donald. Everyone needs to vote or else she will forge your ballot for Hillary (because Trump needs to work out). Sonia also enjoys hillaryclinton.com and will be running for president in the 2020 elections.
- “I liked how when Trump would say anything, Hillary would just laugh the entire time. Also how Hillary referred to Trump as “Donald” and Trump calls her “Miss Clinton” or “Secretary” or whatever.”
- “For those people who don’t vote, we should forge their ballots so Hillary wins!”
- “Trump needs to work out.”
- “I liked how Trump kept saying things, he was like ‘I never said global warming was a hoax by China’ and Hillary kept replying, ‘I have the facts on my website!’ That was really funny.”
- “SONIA FOR PRESIDENT, NOT KANYE 2020 WE LIKE SONIA 2020”
- Amrit T. (‘20) says Trump needs to be more aggressive and read the facts on immigration. Amrit calls on everyone to vote because their vote will decide the future of America.
- “I thought the presidential debate wasn’t as good as the previous debates. Trump was very mellow, and it didn’t really suit him. Towards the end he got very aggressive, but at the beginning he wasn’t. He should be more aggressive because he’s wrong anyway, so being aggressive makes him look more like a fool, and it also makes him more fun.”
- “Trump needs to work out immigration and actually read the facts.”
- “If I could vote right now, I’d vote for Clinton. People who aren’t voting should really get interested in the election because they need to help decide the future of America because right now. Insensible people are voting for Trump, and it’s truly going to make America worse. So read up and get informed.”
- Justin C. (‘18) points out the candidates’ lack of plans. He’s not voting.
- “I thought neither candidate said anything in the debate. When they were asked questions about how they would accomplish things, they didn’t really have a plan.”
- “If I could vote right now, I wouldn’t vote.”