The second presidential debate from a young voter’s perspective

Local high school students weigh in on the second presidential debate (WLFI)
Local high school students weigh in on the second presidential debate (WLFI)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Many experienced voters are having a tough time deciding between the two candidates so it may not be surprising to hear first-time voters are having difficulties.

According to some, Sunday night’s second presidential debate didn’t make the decision to pick a candidate any clearer.

Harrison High School United States government teacher Tony Martin said this election is easier to teach because the candidates are so well-known. However, their notoriety brings challenges in the classroom.

There are a lot of distractions such as Donald Trump’s lewd comments about women captured on tape in 2005 and Hillary Clinton’s missing emails.

Martin said his goal is to get students to focus on the issues rather than the personalities or pasts of the candidates. But students say Clinton and Trump make that nearly impossible.

“They tell them wait to talk, you know, simple things that you would think adults would be able to abide by. But they still interrupt each other and basically just like slam each other,” Harrison senior Cade Bishop said.

Harrison senior Bailey Galema added, “I think it just kind of degrades us and makes us seem more uneducated than we really are.”

The students are taking their right to vote pretty seriously. But are the presidential candidates?

“It’s just kind of a cluster right now,” said Galema.

Between Democrat Clinton’s missing emails and Republican Trump’s lewd comments about women in a recently released video, there wasn’t much talk about what these students wanted to learn during the second debate.

“As a teenager, I think that’s kind of funny,” said Bishop.

But as a first-time voter, he knows the clock is ticking to get informed.

“Definitely, going to come down to the wire for me,” said Bishop.

But Martin said, “In the end, joke or not, one of these people is going to be the president of the United States.”

Bishop and Galema are doing what they can to stay informed. Martin has assigned the class to make personal candidate pros and cons lists, do research through multiple media outlets, and go to candidate websites.

“I care because I want things to be better,” said Galema. “I want things to go smoother and I want things to be more equal for everyone.”

Bishop said it’s disappointing to see the candidates chosen for his first election as an eligible voter.

“But hopefully, I’ll be able to be a part of many better ones,” said Bishop.

Galema and Bishop hope the third debate on Oct. 19 is less about the past and more about the future.