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Tensions Rise in 2016 Election’s First Presidential Debate

Students gather in Olds-Upton to watch the presidential debate [Gabriel Stanley / The Index]. Students gather in Olds-Upton to watch the presidential debate [Gabriel Stanley / The Index].

Political tensions surrounding the upcoming presidential election peak as Election Day draws near, as demonstrated by the arrival of last Monday’s presidential debate.

At a viewing party hosted by the Kalamazoo College Political Science Department in Olds Upton Hall, all seats were filled and students occupied floor space in an effort to witness the debate.

Moderator Lester Holt of NBC Nightly News opened the debate by introducing presidential nominees Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Each candidate was permitted two minutes in order to answer questions posed by the moderator and was allotted another two minutes for rebuttal.

The first issue raised was how each of the candidates would create new jobs for Americans.

Clinton began by stressing the importance of the jobs created through small businesses and infrastructure. “Broad-based, inclusive growth is what we need in America,” declared the nominee, “not more advantages for people at the very top.” She proposed profit sharing within companies and closing corporate loopholes.

Alternatively, the Republican nominee proposed to reduce taxes for American companies and to raise taxes for businesses wishing to sell back into the U.S. He additionally emphasized the importance of keeping jobs from leaving the United States for Mexico and China.

Holt shifted the debate to issues of race relations within the U.S. When asked how to address such issues, Clinton suggested to implement police training that focuses on using force only when necessary. She also insisted on the importance of criminal justice reform and an end to minimum sentencing for non-violent offenses.

“We need law and order in our country,” said Trump, referring to the necessity for safety within cities, especially those with high African American and Hispanic populations. He proposed the usage of stop-and-frisk, denying that this method was ruled unconstitutional in New York.

News-channel 3 of Western Michigan attended the event in an attempt to capture the political activism of the K College community. Professor Justin Berry of the Political Science Department was one of a few attendees interviewed after the debate.

“In the second half of the debate, Hillary did a good job of contrasting her policy viewpoints from Donald Trump and forcing him for some details,” said Berry.

The second presidential debate is scheduled to take place on Sunday, October 9 at 9:00PM.

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Tensions Rise in 2016 Election’s First Presidential Debate