The second presidential debate between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump on Sunday was nontraditional and distasteful, according to several Rowan University students.
Trump fended questions about recently released tapes in which he condoned and bragged about being able to sexually assault women because of his celebrity. Clinton responded to the most recent surge of leaked emails dumped by WikiLeaks, which revealed bits of her paid speeches to Wall Street.
While the debate was intended to be a town hall-style, the two candidates spent much of their time insulting one another. Clinton said the tapes released on Trump represent who he is, whereas Trump vowed to get an attorney to put Clinton in jail for her ongoing email scandal if he is elected.
“The debates have literally been rated TV-mature,” said Billie Flenders, a 27-year-old student. “Debates used to be an educational experience. We watched them in school, and parents literally can’t let their children watch them anymore.”
Flenders is an elementary education and literacy studies dual major. He said that he believes neither Trump nor Clinton are acting as they should be at debates.
A former Bernie Sanders supporter, Flenders will be voting for Clinton because to him she is, “the lesser of two evils.”
“A Donald Trump presidency would be catastrophic,” Flenders said. “Hillary wouldn’t be the worst we’ve ever had, but I’m not excited about it. Globally we’d be safer with her.”
Flenders also told Whit reporters he believes voting third party is a wasted vote during this election cycle.
Hanna Dietrich, a sophomore biomedical engineering major, was also unimpressed by the candidates’ performance at the second presidential debate.
“The only other election I can remember for debates was between Romney and Obama,” she said. “This kind of behavior does not seem normal to me.”
Dietrich believes the candidates should be more professional with one another, like most other candidates in presidential races are. She does not foresee any real changes between the two candidates in the future.
“I don’t like how negative U.S. presidential elections are, but I understand now that it’s a part of the game,” she said.
Freshman political science major Matthew Maiolo is deeply unsatisfied with the debates thus far in general, but especially Sunday’s.
“It was the worst thing I’ve seen in my life,” he said. “Exclusively personal attacks for 30 straight minutes.”
Maiolo believes the debates are a personal reflection of Clinton and Trump. He does not believe either of the two candidates are good people.
“In previous years, I feel like if your candidate didn’t win everything would still be okay,” he said. “This year it seems to be ‘do or die’ for many, or even ‘die or die.’”
In the next debate Maiolo is hoping the two candidates will show at least some respect for one another and talk about more substantial issues.
Maiolo believes enough time has been spent on both Hillary’s and Trump’s scandals and the last debate should truly be a reflection of the candidates’ policies.
Flenders expressed his expectations quite differently.
“I’m so disgusted at this point that I’m expecting nothing,” he said. “They’re both just so far gone there’s no hope it even gets better.”
The last presidential debate will take place on Oct. 19.
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