Audio attribution at bottom

By Jonathan Kopeliovich

At 9:00 p.m. on Sept. 29, 2020, millions of Americans watched as Donald Trump and Joe Biden took the stage at Case Western Reserve University to debate about the future of the nation. Moderator Chris Wallace put forward questions about topics like vaccine distribution, economic recovery and climate change. 

The night flew by as the candidates answered questions for 90 minutes. After, political analysis groups and talk show hosts crowded the radio waves with their opinions on the debate.

Here at home, University of Connecticut students voiced their thoughts and concerns on the debate. Jessica Delgado, a fifth-semester nursing student and Secretary of UConn Collaborative Organizing, said she believes that the way the candidates acted while discussing important issues like women’s rights, racial justice and white supremacy downplayed these topics. 

“White supremacy obviously doesn’t do anything for either of these men so it’s a topic of conversation that they can just have without any resonating emotion,” Delgado said.  

“It was almost like I was watching middle schoolers argue with each other”

Jessica Delgado

Seventh-semester political science major Thomas Heuschkel Jr. and fifth-semester economics and political science major Glenn Prushinksi are President and Vice President of the UConn Republicans. They offered their thoughts on the matter, too. 

“The [issues] that really apply to us the most at this age are student debt, the economy and for our generation, maybe climate change,” Heuschkel Jr. said. Prushinksi said, “’s important that they referenced [the vaccine].” 

Michael Cerulli, a third-semester political science major and President of College Democrats of Connecticut, said he holds racial justice and economic issues in high regard. He also said that Biden performed stronger than Trump that night and in his opinion, the nation needs a leader that is a stabilizing force and is not a constant disruption like Trump is. 

When it came to etiquette, there wasn’t much disagreement between students of all organizations. 

“It was almost like I was watching middle schoolers argue with each other,” Delgado said. 

Heuschkel Jr. also critiqued Trump’s performance. He said, “at one point, my head was in my hands and I was waiting for Trump to just chill out and be quiet for a bit.” 

“From a public image standpoint, Biden came out the winner,” Prushinksi said. “Trump just kept talking over him and interrupting and rambling. I think just letting Biden talk, and do the damage himself would have helped [Trump] more.” 

There were some clear bipartisan sentiments of embarrassment over this debate.

America continues forward to the next presidential debate set for October 22. With lingering questions in the air, Heuschkel Jr. offered some optimism for the future.

“It’s a dicey road ahead, I guess. We’re a resilient people,” he said. “I hope after this year, we can all just chill out and have a beer.”

Coast Starlight (Shimoda Shuffle) by spinningmerkaba (c) copyright 2019 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial  (3.0) license. Ft: shimoda, SiobhanD

An instrumental recording of The Star-Spangled Banner by the United States Marine Corps band, 1953. From the Library of Congress.

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