Presidential Debates

Sofia Carrillo, Comic Artist

At the Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, September 26, the 2016 presidential race was marked by a historic night for the candidates: the night of the first presidential debate. The debate featured Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump as they faced off in their attempts to win over more voters.


Moderated by Lester Holt, the debate lasted an hour and a half, with varied questions on relevant issues such as racial tensions between the black community and police officers and ISIS, regarding the issue of homegrown terrorism. Additionally, the debates touched upon political scandals, such as Clinton’s email situation and Trump’s tax returns.


Andrew Bilodeau, 12, a moderate liberal, had a lot to say about the debate, especially on Trump’s presentation.


“He started out aggressively and started out dominantly, but then when it turned into the actual meat of their policies, it was clear the separation,” Bilodeau said. “What Trump wants is, he wants blue collar workers and vets and he was hitting hard on the trade deals, and that was good. But he wasn’t hitting hard enough on benefits for veterans, and he wasn’t hitting hard on painting Hillary Clinton as an irresponsible politician who is corrupt.”


Other Downey High students tuned in, as well, some because of homework and others because of an interest in American politics.


Fellow student and senior Emily Siu, a green party supporter, agreed with many of Bilodeau’s points about the debate.


“Clinton was poised and confident while Trump constantly interrupted her with unnecessary comments and especially during the second half was defensive and agitated,” Siu stated. “Clinton’s responses to questions were sensible and she made it very clear that she knew what she was doing, while Trump’s answers were vague and he was repetitive throughout the debate.”


Students moderate Danica Ferrer, 12, however, was not entirely satisfied with how the debate went and the path the questions took in regards to the candidates.


“I hope to see a debate more focused on actual political issues,” Ferrer stated, “rather than dirt either candidates could use on each other.”


However, despite their opinions of the debate, they were all in agreement on who should take the presidency: Secretary Hillary Clinton.


“While she may not be perfect, she’s well qualified,” Ferrer said. “She’s the better choice.”
This first debate so far has been the most watched presidential debate in American history, attracting well over 80 million viewers who tuned in to see what Clinton and Trump had to say.  The second presidential debate, which happened on Sunday, Oct. 9, was in the style of a town hall debate. Its viewership dropped from the first debate, pulling in about 69 million viewers. The third debate is set to occur Wednesday, Oct. 19, moderated by Fox News’ Chris Wallace in Las Vegas at 6:00 p.m. PT.