Republicans and Democrats battle at podium

Chris Norrie

About 70 people attended the student debate Nov. 2 with Marco Torres and Manny Hoffmann discussing election issues.
About 70 people attended the student debate Nov. 2 with Marco Torres and Manny Hoffmann discussing election issues.

election-2016Two students, one representing the Republican ideals, and one representing the Democratic ideals, faced off in a crash of hot topics about the nation’s political issues in Dillard 101. The debate had a representative of the Democrats and Republicans. The two students answered a range of questions in our country and give their personal views on several different issues facing our society today. The two debaters were Manny Hoffmann, political science junior, on the Republican side, and Marco Torres, history senior, on the Democratic side.

There were more than 70 people in attendance on Wednesday night. Republican dominated the attendance with 39 percent, followed by Democrats at 24 percent, people who weren’t going to vote 22 percent and undecided a week before the election 15 percent. And they came for different reasons: to support their friends, for class credit or to become educated on the issues in the election.

“I’m actually undecided on who to vote for, I know I want to vote I saw fliers around Dillard hall for this event and it sounded promising to go to. If it wasn’t for the fliers I probably would’ve known about the debate,” Bill Ash, accounting finance junior, said.

Whether if it was from social media, ads, or peers, people attending the university were aware of the event. 

“My friends and I are all in the same fraternity including Manny, so we all came here to show him our support. It will be interesting to hear Manny talk because he has Liberal views outside of school,” said Hayden Lewis nursing junior.

The debate started around 7 p.m. and lasted a little over an hour. The debate consisted of 13 questions with four additional questions ranging from education to gay marriage. Deron Molen of KFDX was the moderator of Wednesday night’s event. Some students came with clear indication of who they were voting for, Wednesday night’s debate didn’t do much to change the audience’s opinion.

“The debate didn’t change any of my thoughts or beliefs I’m hard rooted in my political views, it’s tough for me to sway one way or the other. I did agree on some issues that were explained up there, but nothing to change my opinion. It was one sided more me, I have grown up in Texas my whole life and I’ve always been raised one way,” said Aaron Benton management and information systems senior.

Benton grew up with a conservative background in Texas, and he said the conservative’s have been ruling the polls before Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

“Basically, all my family are conservative so it’s important to my family we share the same political values. There were a few things that caught me off a bit that I’ve haven’t heard and maybe I will think about, but there was nothing dramatic that would change my party or the understanding I had for politics,” said Benton.

Some of the audience were already sold on the Democratic values and were not going to let the debate change what they believed.

“I enjoy watching and listening to politicians. Marco and Manny were fun to listen to tonight, but I have already made up my mind of who I think should be our next president. I come from a different country, so it’s important that I support Hillary because she supports immigration and that everyone should have the chance to live the America dream,” said Newman Wong, research analyst.

Most countries do not get the same benefits as getting the right to have a say for the country as Americans. The Democratic party give immigrants the chance to become American citizens. They tend to give more support to immigration in America to give people the chance to live a good life in the States.

“I feel I would be going against myself and my family if I voted for Trump. People like Hillary have made my experience in America possible, it wouldn’t be far for them for me to vote against them,” Wong said.

Both students are enrolled full-time planning to work in the field of politics. Manny is an active member of the Student Government Association and Marco is also an active member of the Student Government Association. The audience’s expectations of these students were set high.

“Marco didn’t exceed my expectations tonight. He should have gave more of a constant presentation in general. Marco had some good point of views, but I don’t think he represented the Democratic party as well as he could have. I saw him agree too much with Manny about certain views, and he wasn’t that great of a spokesperson,” Wong said.

Wong expressed his disappointment in Torres’ attitude and projection of the Democratic party.

“Marco is our representative of the Democratic party for our university, and it didn’t seem that way tonight. I wished he would have supported our party more. it didn’t seem as if he was very supportive. The way you present yourself is important too, Marco should have worn at least a suit and tie,” Wong said.

 In other cases, members of the audience were pleased with how Manny represented the Republican Party.

“Manny over exceeded my expectations tonight, and defiantly performed well up there. He came up with some good answers. He looked confident in what he was saying, and he looked like he did his homework before. Overall the debate was a great show, I had a good time listening to both sides. I’m happy I came,” Benton said.

The audience hoped to have all the questions answered as clear and straight forward as possible. They thought for the most the part, the students answered the questions well.

“I would probably say jobs for both they seemed discrete a bit, unemployed jobs are big issue in America. There were a few questions brought up from the category, I thought it could have been better answered that still I feel unclear about. I don’t think they spend enough time of the issue tonight probably could have went a little more in depth,” Benton said.

Discussing American jobs is potentially a complex, time consuming task and the audience thought there should have been more time to cover it.

“As a college student, the main thing I’m worried about is figuring out what I’m going to do after college and it starts with being employed. I would have liked to hear the two parties and discuss the issue more in depth. Maybe even hear the two parties talk about their plans on how they could fix the problem instead of telling us to work harder and to perform the best we can,” Benton said.