Over 700 people RSVP'd “yes” on Facebook to attend the first Presidential Democratic Debate Viewing Party at Scripps College's Motley Coffeehouse. Luckily, the number of students that actually attended was lower, but students still huddled together on the floor, on couches and standing in the back of the brick building to watch the live-streamed debate projected behind the stage. After the highly-publicized GOP presidential debate a few weeks ago, many 5C students excitedly anticipated the Democratic debate and enjoyed the opportunity to watch it in both the Motley and in Pomona College's Hahn Hall.
“It's important to stay informed,” Alana Friedman PO '16 said. “I’m a voter. By watching [the debates], you avoid being swept up by bandwagons. You can make your own decisions.”
Despite the prevalence of political bandwagons at the 5Cs, many students present at the viewing agreed that staying up-to-date on presidential candidates and current political events is imperative because of the power that voting wields. This sentiment is not shared by all young people, however, as many believe that involvement in politics is futile, which has resulted in strong 5C student and administrative efforts to register more student voters.
“Cynicism [about politics] as a whole is a big problem,” Henry Easton-Kohler PZ ’18 said.
He reflected that many students are turned off by politics not because they don’t believe in its significance, but because they are disillusioned by the bureaucracy and puppetry that is prevalent in much political discourse. He also mentioned that his favorite question in the debate was one asked by a student about whether “black lives matter or all lives matter.” Every candidate answered that black lives matter except for Jim Webb, who struggled with viewer support both at the Motley and from the audience in Las Vegas, where the debate was held.
When asked which candidate is popular among students, Morgan Weidenmier SC ’17 said, “Hillary in general, but Bernie has a pull on the youth that’s impressive.”
A collective round of shouts and clapping erupted during the debate when Clinton responded to a question about the Republican Party’s hesitance to support paid parental leave with a jab at the defunding of Planned Parenthood. Given the Motley’s mission to be a safe, inclusive and feminist space, it was no surprise that the sole Democratic woman running for the presidency received much verbal affirmation on her liberal stance on a popular feminist issue.
“When we’re in school, we can forget about what’s going in in the world,” Kayla Lemus SC '16 said, expressing the importance of being involved and staying up-to-date on political issues. She expressed her goal of becoming more informed and aware about current issues as graduation nears.