Green Key Hosts Presidential Debates

With no election in recent American history being as divisive as the 2016 presidential race, it is only natural that student interest has been piqued. With the rise of such student-run clubs as Young Democrats, Young Republicans, and the new Liberal Socialists, many Pioneers are getting political for the first time.

Although the majority of the student body is too young to vote, last year a mock election was held for all students and staff, with Bernie Sanders emerging as the winner. However, now that the real election is here, Pioneers have been following the action breathlessly. Thanks to Winston Wu, the first presidential debate on September 26th between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump was featured on the Green Key’s numerous televisions.

There was a massive turnout, with crowds of students packed tightly together to watch the action take place, and the enticing promise of free Papa John’s pizza only further encouraged students to come out and watch the debate unfold. Several students had fun playing ‘debate bingo’, watching closely for mentions of things like ‘Hillary’s emails’ and ‘Trump’s tax returns’ in order to cross them off their cards. While the winner of that bingo match remains unclear, Clinton seems to be the clear winner of that debate. “She was obviously very well prepared,” says Bradyn Podnar ’18, a junior who has been following the presidential race. “But Trump just went downhill as it went on.”

Clinton also earned a standing ovation from the students after Trump criticized her for being too rehearsed, and she sharply responded, “You know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be president.”

On Tuesday, October 4th, the vice presidential nominees, Democratic Senator Tim Kaine and Indiana’s Republican Governor Mike Pence, had their turn to debate. This debate took place at Longwood University in Virginia, the home state of Senator Kaine, and was moderated by Elaine Quijano.

This debate was not shown in the Green Key, much to the confusion of several students and faculty. Nor was the October 9th presidential debate, moderated by Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz, but many anxious students took to their common rooms to watch. Both candidates were facing fresh controversy the second time around, with Clinton battling a deluge of leaked campaign communications and Trump dealing with an offensive, sophomoric tape from 2005 that had surfaced. The candidates took several questions from the audience, but relentlessly attacked each other throughout the debate. With the political atmosphere so heavily charged, it will be interesting to see what takes place on Election Day.

The last debate, hosted by Fox host Chris Wallace, was shown in the Green Key. But without the enticement of food and the event being upperclassmen-only, it was a much quieter and civil crowd. Election day was November 8th.


-Aidan Johnson ’18

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