BYU, UNLV students react to final debate watch parties

Balloons drop at the Student Union following UNLV’s final presidential debate watch party. Many BYU students also attended a watch party on the night of the debate in the Joseph Smith Building Auditorium. (Gianluca Cuestas)

LAS VEGAS — College students and general public lined up to watch the final presidential debate on Oct. 19, 2016 at a watch party in the Student Union, half a mile away from the the last stage presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will share before the election.

BYU students also gathered to watch the third and final presidential debate in the Joseph Smith Building Auditorium. The watch party was sponsored by the BYU Political Affairs Society.

UNLV watch party reactions

UNLV student Maya Dendy said she came to the watch party wanting to see if either candidate would say anything different in the final debate from what they have said in the past.

“I like seeing the reactions of the candidates to see how they react under heated discussions and heated circumstances,” Dendy said.

Trump “held himself a little bit more together” in the final debate than in the first two debates, according to Dendy. She said fact checking is a good part of the debate so the public can know what is true.

1993 UNLV graduate Luis Lichtman said although he doesn’t support Trump or Clinton, he came to the watch party hoping to see more reaction from the two candidates during the final debate.

“I thought it was my last chance to get a better understanding of both of the nominees and I’m glad I was finally able to see their point of views head to head,” Lichtman said.

Las Vegas resident and father of two Gregory York said he liked having the opportunity to take his family to a local debate by attending UNLV’s watch party.

“I brought my daughters to see the first woman president smash (Trump),” York said. “It was great.”

BYU watch party reactions

Clinton supporter and BYU student Lizzie Hayes thought Trump’s debate performance was less than presidential.

“I thought that Hillary was poised and acted professionally and seemed like a president and Donald Trump seemed like a child who didn’t know what he was doing up there,” Hayes said. “I want to say something good about Donald Trump, but I literally can’t think of anything.”

Calvert Cazier, an Evan McMullin supporter, thought Trump acted presidential in the first part of the debate.

“At the beginning I was like, ‘Hey, this might be different,’ for the first twenty minutes,” Cazier said. “And then it just kind of tanked from there and went back to how it normally was. It’s kind of entertaining and kind of sad in some ways.”

On the other hand, BYU alumnus Scott Peterson, who plans to vote for Trump in the upcoming election, thought the final debate was Trump’s strongest performance yet.

“I thought that both candidates had their best debate so far,” Peterson said. “I think that Trump had the most presidential demeanor that we’ve seen so far, which is good for him. Unfortunately, Hillary had probably her strongest night, as well, tonight.”

BYU student Alison Adams, who is supporting Clinton, felt that the candidates focused more on policies in the final debate.

“I felt like in this one they talked less about their controversial issues and they talked more about what they were going to do for the American people, which I appreciated,” Adams said. “But I still don’t like either of them and they tend to attack each other.”

Ellie Lewis said she’s supporting Clinton, despite being reluctant to support either Trump or Clinton originally.

“The biggest issue for me in this election so far has been the lack of accurate information and the lack of knowledge of some of the candidates,” Lewis said. “Hillary actually knows what she’s talking about and so I have to support the candidate who is most prepared and the candidate who knows what they’re talking about the most.”

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