By: Regina Wright ~Campus News Editor~
With only five days left and no clear lead in the polls, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have begun preparation for the first presidential debate on Sept. 26, each with a different strategy. The debate will air from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) at Hofstra University in New York and moderated by Lester Holt, NBC “Nightly News” anchor.
Clinton’s aides and advisers have been helping her study Trump’s policy positions, personality and rebuttal style by giving her briefing books and performing mock debates.
“I do not know which Donald Trump will show up,” Clinton told supporters at a fundraiser in late August. “Maybe he will try to be presidential and try to convey a gravity that he hasn’t done before, or will he come in and try to insult and try to score some points.”
The Democratic candidate has debated more than any other presidential candidate, with more than a dozen debates against President Barack Obama in 2008 and nine during the primary election debates against Bernie Sanders.
“Somebody said to me, ‘Remember, there will be about 100 million people watching, and 60 million will be paying attention to the campaign for the first time. So don’t assume they have followed anything,’” Clinton said. “They may vaguely have some information about ‘Trump said this’ or ‘Clinton said that’ or whatever. But there will be a lot of new impressions to be made that night.”
Trump’s strategy involves talking things out with his advisors rather than spending as much time reading briefs or holding mock debates.
“I believe you can prep too much for those things,” Trump told The New York Times. It can be dangerous. You can sound scripted or phony…like you’re trying to be someone you’re not.”
“I look forward to watching the debate on Monday to help me solidify my voting preference,” Jordan Hendershot, a junior occupational therapy major, said. “I’m hoping the debate will strengthen my choice and provide some answers to uncertainties I have about sides the candidates have taken. I’m especially interested in Trump’s points on foreign policy since he has no previous experience and what Clinton’s position is on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) since she has changed it.”
“Although it will come down between the two parties, I do wish Johnson and Stein were able to voice their positions as well. Each candidate is pulling votes away from Clinton and Trump, and I think it’s important to hear what they have to say,” Hendershot said.
Clinton and Trump will be the only presidential candidates attending the first debate. Libertarian Party candidate, Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein, were unable to meet the Commission on Presidential Debates’ (CPD) three qualifications. Johnson and Stein both met two of the qualifications by achieving ballot access in a sufficient number of states to win a theoretical Electoral College majority and constitutional eligibility for presidency. However, they both failed to meet substantial polling averages.
“The Board determined that the polling averages called for in the third criterion are as follows: Hillary Clinton (43 percent), Donald Trump (40.4 percent), Gary Johnson (8.4 percent) and Jill Stein (3.2 percent),” the CPD announced in their report selecting the candidates. “Accordingly, Hillary Clinton and her running mate, Tim Kaine, and Donald Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence, qualify to participate in the Sept. 26 presidential debate and the Oct. 4 vice-presidential debate, respectively. No other candidates satisfied the criteria for inclusion in the Sept. 26 and Oct. 4 debates. The criteria will be reapplied to all candidates in advance of the second and third presidential debates.”
Johnson and Stein may still qualify for the third debate if they are able to raise their polling numbers.
“I am really looking forward to hearing the candidates discuss immigration,” Toni Ramirez, treasurer of Student Organization of Latinos (SOL), said. “Trump made headlines when discussing his ‘wall’ months ago. Hearing him have to actually explain this to the nation should be interesting.”
“I also think Hillary has some ideas that are actually feasible in regards to immigration, and it would be great for them to spread.,” Ramirez said. “In a state where immigrants really aren’t that common, I hope watching our presidential nominees discuss this pressing issue will help open the minds of Xavier students and steer them away from stereotypes that are often spread.”
The Xavier Political Science Club will be hosting a viewing of the debate in Alter 003 starting at 8 p.m. A discussion will be held beforehand with pizza and soda.