BY BELLA GROGAN
Print Managing Editor
President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden met for the final debate for about an hour and a half on Oct. 22 before elections. Freshman Shane Grogan watched the debate.
“I decided to watch the debate because I wanted to see what the candidates both said about how they would handle situations,” Grogan said. “The debate was good because both candidates got equal time to talk and were able to get their points across.”
Junior Daniela Valerio watched the debate with her family. She said the debate wasn’t exceptionally helpful, but it wasn’t terrible.
“I decided to watch the debate because I feel it is our responsibility as the future of our country to be politically active and aware,” Valerio said. “There was no debate from either candidate that would ultimately change the opinion of voters.”
AICE European History teacher Eric Adzima said there have been better, more effective debates before this one. He said the debate was not good and he did not find it as helpful as previous ones.
“I felt the debate lacked substance, [since] it was like listening to crafted words in a campaign speech,” Adzima said. “It did not help me form an opinion but certainly reinforced my pre-existing opinions.”
Adzima said it is important that citizens get to know who they are voting for and what that person stands for. He said interruptions may have limited the candidates in what they wanted to express, but with the mute feature, they both got to get their points across.
“In a democracy, it is important for citizens to get a sense of who their candidates are as people and to hear them try to make sense of issues,” Adzima said. “The questions [asked] seemed fair and non-partisan.”
Presidential debates usually have a majority of in-person audiences, but due to COVID-19 this year the majority audience was virtual. Grogan said that not having an in-person audience affected the debate.
“Having no audience negatively affected the debate because the candidates are so used to having big audiences,” Grogan said. “I think that when there is an audience the candidates get more hyped up and that makes them get more points across.”
On another note, Valerio said she felt having no audience did not hugely affect the election. She said it is ideal to have a big audience watching a debate, but it is not a game-changer to have no one in the audience.
“There were obvious limitations in having a small [in-person] audience, for example not being able to interact directly with the audience,” Valerio said. “In general, I do not think the debate was effective, [but] it still went on and the candidates didn’t seem to be affected by it as much.”
Moderator Kristina Welker of NBC News decided what topics the candidates would debate on. The topics she based her questions on included COVID-19, American families, race in America, climate change, national security and leadership. Grogan said the questions Welker asked were fair.
“The questions asked were good because they were about situations that we are going through now, and the candidates both got to explain what they would do and how they would fix certain issues,” Grogan said. “Both candidates got equal chances to answer the questions because they both got two minutes and were asked the same questions.”
Likewise, Valerio said the questions asked were relevant to current events in society. She said that she liked how climate change and health care were brought up multiple times.
“Bringing up climate change and health care in the questions was smart since the two topics are both impacting our nation,” Valerio said. “Both candidates were able to answer the questions with what they wanted to say, due to the fact there were fewer interruptions.”