By Simon Thomas
The Heiner Center Auditorium was packed with students and community members to watch the third and final presidential debate of 2016.
There were audience members in obvious support of both Senator Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Before the debate, index cards were passed around to audience members and viewers were encouraged to write down thoughts and questions. Afterward, a seminar with history Professor Mary Haberman, Political Science Professor Doug Robertson, and Political Science Professor Barry Maxwell was held on stage. The history professor Ian Stacy hosted the discussion.
After the debate, CNN said the National Poll Ratings had Clinton at 47 percent and Trump at 39 percent. Although, Real Clear Politics and USA Today had them closer in the ratings by one point. The next morning, Trump tweeted, “Why didn’t Hillary Clinton announce that she was inappropriately given the debate questions – she secretly used them! Crooked Hillary.”
On the other hand, Clinton tweeted, “Donald thinks belittling women makes him a bigger man. It just makes him a bully.”
The debate ran long and covered issues including the second amendment, immigration, foreign relations, and women’s rights.
While opening the seminar, referring to past debates, Robertson said, “If we listened, we know the clear opinions of the candidates.”
The professors went on to discuss questions about entitlements, the option of a three candidate debate, and the significance of either candidate winning.
Especially when biased and non-diverse news is overwhelming, host Ian Stacy said that it is necessary to have events such as this where young people can share opinions while listening to other’s ideas.
“This is the pitfall of social media,” Stacy said.
“It’s important to get the opportunity to engage with others so you don’t find yourself in an echo chamber,” Stacy said.
Overall, Stacy said he felt the mood of the auditorium as positive and interested, and Political Science Club president, Simon Sefzik, agreed.
“It was a really great turnout,” Sefzik said.
He said he was pleased to see that Trump supporters and Clinton supporters were so willing to be respectful toward one another during the debate. Sefzik even went on to describe the mood as “engaged and contained.”
Sefzik said that the Political Science Club will be planning events with local election candidates and conducting local polling here at Whatcom.