Students weigh in on current issues in mock debate


Photo obtained through Creative Commons.

As we get closer to the 2016 Presidential Election with each passing day, things get more and more chaotic. With all of the controversy and debates regarding the leading candidates (Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump) it can be difficult to judge the their policies and their merit. We have held a Q&A style mock mini-debate with students representing the candidates. Freshman Colin Martin represents Democratic Nominee Hillary Clinton and Freshman Jack Hester represents Republican Nominee Donald Trump.

What will the country look like after your president’s first term in terms of economy, social issues, domestic issues and foreign issues?

Jack: In terms of the economy, Trump will not completely wipe away America’s debt, but he will definitely start the path that will lead America into having zero debt. He will achieve this by creating a system where new jobs will always be created within the US. He also plans to change the government’s budget and how much they spend on social security, military, etc. Trump abolish the failure that was Obamacare and replace it with a much better system that makes healthcare affordable for everyone in the country. Donald Trump will get rid of the common core system and return the power back to the individual states while will also make education something that is affordable for everybody so college loans can stop being a major problem.

Domestically, Trump will eliminate gangs, make sure the mentally-ill will not commit crimes, all the while maintaining our right to bear arms. Trump will also legalize marijuana in the medical field, and allow the states to decide what they want. Trump will fight ISIS and other terrorist organizations to end the terror attacks in the US and the rest of the world. Additionally, Trump will fix America’s immigration system and allow Americans to be safe from terrorism and drug violence. After Donald Trump’s first term, I expect him to solve many of the issues that have plagued America for years.

Colin: By the end of the first term of a Hillary Clinton presidency this country will be much better off than when it started. Clinton will create 10 million new jobs by the end of her first term, and she is ready to invest money to help fix the atrocious infrastructure we see across our country. Hillary Clinton will raise taxes on the rich and lift the pressures on lower income families. Socially, Clinton plans to fight systemic racism in education and employment, she will stop the mass imprisonment of marijuana users, and reform the prison system. In the long term, Clinton is against the use of nuclear weapons, and she wishes to peacefully abide by all treaties the US currently has.

How does your candidate compare to the 3rd party alternatives like Gary Johnson or Jill Stein?

Jack: I believe that Donald Trump is the best choice for president, even against Johnson and Stein. Donald Trump actually has ideas that will work in our country, unlike Jill Stein. For example, Trump knows our military plays a major role in defending America and wants to increase the budget to keep our country safe. Stein however, wants to decrease the budget by at least 50%, which would make our country more vulnerable to attacks. Additionally, Donald Trump supports the war on drugs, which is a major problem in America. Millions suffer from drug addiction, and almost all of the drugs have been imported from foreign countries. Trump knows that the right decision is to increase America’s border protection so that no drugs get in. On the other hand, Gary Johnson does not support the drug war, and wants to fully legalize Marijuana, which would cause an even bigger drug problem than we currently have.

Colin : I think it’s pretty clear that Hillary Clinton is the best choice for president. Her experience in government, from being a Senator for 8 years to being the Secretary of State for 4, is unparalleled by any other candidate this year. Jill Stein, while being a very well educated woman, simply doesn’t have the experience needed for this job. As for Gary Johnson, he certainly has experience as the governor of New Mexico, but as we have seen in his recent media gaffes he is unpredictable, and not always the most knowledgeable. Meanwhile, Hillary is ready to enforce the best policies of the two third parties with the skilled hand of an experienced civil servant.

Pick 3 adjectives to explain your candidate’s strengths and 3 adjectives to describe their weaknesses? Why?

Jack: Three adjectives I would use to describe Trump’s weakness would be loudmouthed, arrogant, and rude. Trump is loudmouthed in not just a sense of volume, but also in that he speaks for long periods of time, even when he is supposed to be finished with his speeches.  I also feel that Trump is a very arrogant person. Trump constantly makes fun of Clinton and also has a very high ego. Finally, Trump is very rude. He calls Mexicans rapists and drug dealers, calls China names, and has given a negative nickname to every single one of his opponents, for  example: “Lying Ted” and “Crooked Hillary”.

The three adjectives I would use to describe his strengths are powerful, smart, and bold. Trump uses his own company to his advantage by putting many more Trump company properties around the US, which helps garner name-recognition for Trump. He also has a very powerful word choice and never holds back on what he says. Trump also has incredibly smart tactics, like “trash talking” the other candidates and in the debates, asks them why they think their plans will work and then he explains why they won’t. Even though these tactics are very controversial, they are very effective and are what have kept him going in the presidential race. Though his use of name-calling was very over the top and very rude, it was effective and helped anti-Trump Republicans  see the flaws in the other Republican candidates. Finally, Trump is a very bold person. As I previously mentioned, he never holds back on what he wants to say, and means every word of his speeches. The way he acts is very risky, but combined with his confidence, it makes Trump more and more popular. America needs a bold president, someone who is not afraid to take action. While Trump has many flaws, I feel that some of these actually help him in the presidential race and combined with the added positives, Trump is clearly the better choice in my opinion.

Colin : For her weaknesses, she certainly has them, I would say she can be over-prepared, uncharismatic, and ambitious. Hillary has been known to enjoy preparing a lot for certain events, most notably political debates. While this can be seen as a drawback, I see it as a good thing; it’s a way to know that while representing us Hillary Clinton won’t make big mistakes that might ruin the reputation of the United States. It’s pretty well known that Clinton is no Obama, and she isn’t the best at moving a crowd through speech. This, however, is really not the most important thing for the president. Hillary is absolutely capable of handling what a President really needs to handle, running this country. In addition, Hillary’s ambition for the office of President has been cited by many as something to be afraid of, but if Hillary wants this job so bad it’s unlikely that she would intentionally try to ruin the United States once she gets control of it. As for strengths, it’s difficult to pick only three adjectives to describe the type of leader that Hillary Clinton will become once she wins the presidency, but given that I have to, I would describe Hillary Clinton as strong, dedicated, and intelligent. Clinton’s strength is unique among the presidential candidates this year;when Donald Trump is tweeting about every passing insult, Hillary Clinton has the dignity and restraint to engage her critics in a civil manner. Clinton’s dedication to public service is completely unparalleled in this race. For 30 years she’s been pounded by the media and the public and yet she continues to do her best for the better of the country. While she has certainly made mistakes, her intelligence as a government worker has gotten her through many long years in this field.