On Tuesday, Oct. 4. faculty, staff and students viewed the vice presidential debate in the Cougar Dome. After discussing the debate, some of those in attendance felt unsure of who to vote for, or if they should vote at all.
The vice presidential candidates, Sen. Tim Kaine and Sen. Mike Pence, discussed a wide range of American issues, including police shootings, institutional racism, job creation, budget spending and national debt.
A few students were at a crossroads about who to vote for. Senior philosophy major Cameron Bugno said that he believes Sen. Tim Kaine presented a stronger case for Hillary Clinton in the debate. Bugno stated that he still finds it difficult to choose one candidate over the other and is considering a third-party vote.
“I don’t like either candidate,” Bugno said. “Neither candidate has made me reconsider my appraisal of them. I’d either vote third-party or not vote at all anyway. I don’t want to feed into either party machine by voting for Hillary or Trump. I guess you could say this debate helped me solidify my decision to vote for Gary Johnson, the third-party candidate.”
The vice presidential nominees also spoke on international affairs, such as North Korea’s nuclear advances, Russia’s aggressive push outside its borders, the refugee crisis in Syria and the presence of ISIS in the Middle East.
“Kaine was much more in the attack mode [by] rattling off facts, whereas Mike Pence tried more of the emotional appeal angle, which is really time-tested within American politics,” Ethan Schrum, Ph.D. and professor in APU’s Department of History and Political Science said. “Some of the most successful communicators in the 20th century American presidency, [like] Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan, used that strategy.”
Schrum led a Q&A session after the debate ended where students were able to weigh in on their observations. Some students noted the differences between the two senators’ approaches to the issues and talking points. Those in Schrum’s “U.S. History Since 1877” class also commented on how contemporary debate tactics compare to some of the most historic American expositions in presidential debates from the past. Questions were posed to the students as well, particularly regarding the policies and potential direction each candidate revealed in their campaign.
Bugno said this debate had a different tone from its presidential counterpart.
“I think this one was more oriented around discussing political issues, whereas the presidential debate was Clinton and Trump trading verbal blows with each other,” Bugno said. “While the verbal boxing still went on in the second debate, I would say it was more toned down. I think I was able to actually get a grasp on what the platform for each campaign was during the vice presidential debate.”
Students can view the next presidential debate on Oct. 19 in the Cougar Dome from 6-8 p.m.