Baylor students gather for debate watch party

Baylor students gather at 8 p.m. Wednesday in the Waco Hippodrome Theatre to watch the third and final presidential debate. The non-partisan event was sponsored by Baylor student government. Photo credit: Liesje Powers

By Megan Rule | Staff Writer

The third presidential debate took place at 8 p.m. last night at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. At the Waco Hippodrome Theatre, a watch party put on by Baylor Student Government took place at 7:30, followed by a discussion afterward led by Baylor faculty.

“I’m most excited for this opportunity for students with different viewpoints to come together in this space,” said Lindsey Bacque, Baylor student body president. “Having a space for students to come together and express themselves and meaningfully disagree, I think, is good.”

The Hippodrome Theatre was full of students supporting Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and even Gary Johnson. Students were sitting in the aisles and were very involved throughout the entire debate, cheering for their respective candidates and groaning with points they disagreed with. Major points in the debate included discussion of the second amendment, abortion, border control, the economy, foreign hotspots and the national debt. Both candidates spoke over each other, and the debate was filled with personal jabs.

When asked if he would accept the results of the election, Trump said, “I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense.” Later in the debate, Clinton rebutted with saying, “You are the most dangerous person to run for president in the history of modern America.”

Many of Clinton’s arguments were focused on fighting for women’s rights. Clinton brought much of her reasoning back to allowing women complete freedom in all their decisions, especially with the abortion debate. Trump had personal confrontations against Clinton and the impacts of the democratic party on the country, and pressed he Clinton especially on immigration.

The debate ended with the candidates arguing for why they each should be president. Clinton said she should be president because she is reaching out to everyone and she will fight for everyone. Trump said he should be president because he started the campaign strong and wants to end it strong, by making America great again.

The debrief following the debate was led by Dr. Patrick Flavin and Dr. Rebecca McCumbers Flavin of the department of political science at Baylor. Bacque said she was excited to see how this discussion would turn out.

“The moderator did an excellent job in that the questions he asked pushed the candidates and allowed them to talk with one another,” Dr. Patrick Flavin said. “It was a useful job he did.”

The debrief began with general impressions of the debate and things the professors saw and were interested in. Dr. Rebecca Flavin said that one of the things she likes to do is look at the fact checkers during the debates to get a sense of opinions across the country. This helped her to answer the questions that students tweeted to her.

Campaign 2016 Debate
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton met Wednesday night in Las Vegas for the final presidential debate before Election Day. Photo credit: Associated Press

“In the United States, we believe elections are how we decide our disagreements,” Flavin said. “Part of that means if you lose, even after a gut-wrenching campaign, you accept that result, even if you have to concede. It says a lot about what our system is about.”

They then answered questions that students tweeted to them. Among these were opinions on certain aspects of the debate focusing in on Clinton’s hypocritical comments about gun control and abortion, the “nastiness” of this election and questions about the potential of a third candidate making ground. In order to put the second question into perspective, Dr. Rebecca Flavin asked the crowd who their favorite president was, and when the majority answered Lincoln, she spoke of how he wasn’t particularly liked until his death.

“Elections have always been particularly nasty, and we just happen to remember the most recent one vividly,” Rebecca Flavin said. “Presidential elections do tend to produce some extreme rhetoric.”

According to Bacque, external vice president Amye Dickerson was in charge of the event, and Baylor Student Government worked with other student groups to host an event where students could come together to watch the debate and be informed when they go to vote in November. The Hippodrome event included snacks and drinks for everyone with a Baylor ID, a photo booth and a debrief and discussion of the biggest topics in the debate.

“We’re very excited to work with Baylor for everything that we do,” said Mark Gillham, general manager of the Hippodrome Theatre. “We enjoy working with the university on anything we can do.”