Clinton, Trump, and Rubio (Or Horn, O’Dell, and Tobio) among candidates to visit campus

The student-led debate for the presidency is over… or has it just begun?


Students look on as the candidates discuss the issues.

Josh Willard, News Editor

The 2016 Presidential Election is a fast-approaching date looming over the heads of students and teachers. Millions of Americans’ fates will be decided at the polls next November. But, as many would tell you, it is never too early to start understanding the candidates and the issues. After all, for our current seniors, the next US President will be in office even after they graduate from college. With the student’s lives speeding toward adulthood, and the plethora of social, economic, and political issues threatening our country, we must understand the issues. We must educate ourselves with the facts and use our reasoning and morals to decide what we believe is right for our country. We are young Americans and, before we know it, we will be adults that will have to conquer the unsolved problems of yesterday, the pressing issues of today, and plan for the unknowns of tomorrow.

The debate, put on by members of Ms. Murphy’s American Government class during assembly, was a wonderful glimpse into the political landscape of this election. Representing the Democratic Party, the two leading candidates are Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. On the Republican side, a crowded field is led by Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Dr. Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, and Carly Fiorina. Who do you like more? Which man or woman is the best fit for the job?

We at the Gauntlet let the students decide. Here are some reactions to each candidate’s platform, straight from the minds of our politically-active Falcons.

Hillary Clinton

“She knows how to get stuff done, which is an important part of the job,” said one student. Clinton, represented by senior Grace Horn in the debate, does emphasize the amount of experience she has gained being around Washington for the last few decades. The former First Lady, New York Senator, and Secretary of State had a good showing at the debate. The student body generally approved of her liberal social polices, but she received mixed views for her economic stances and overall trustworthiness. Another student responded to the Gauntlet’s polling, saying, “While she has not been proven guilty in her email scandal, the fact that she got herself into that situation speaks volumes about her.” Overall, this democratic front-runner had a strong showing.

For more information on Clinton, visit her campaign website:

Bernie Sanders

Adorned with white hair and bushy eyebrows, Carson Neeves portrayed the colorful Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders for a memorable debate performance. Asked about Sanders’ strengths, one student replied, “I support his policies on many issues, but I feel they may be a bit too radical for the American presidency.” Another student reiterated this opinion, remarking, “In theory his policies are good, but, in practice, I do not want tax hikes or my personal property infringed upon.” While Sanders received support for his straight- forward policies and humorous approach to the debate, the candidate’s sympathies towards socialist policies are alarming to many in the student body.

For more information on Sanders, visit his campaign website:

Donald Trump

A flamboyant and controversial Donald Trump was played by Sam O’Dell. His lack of sugar-coating was a welcome trait for many students frustrated with the “wishy-washy” nature of some candidate’s policies. However, Trump as the next president is a worrying thought to many students. Female students voiced their

concern over his history of controversial comments on women, while others thought that his emphasis on “building a wall” was not the best way to resolve the immigration crisis. Citing this issue, one student bluntly stated, “He is a demagogue who is unable to make nuanced arguments and is short-sighted on his immigration policies.”

For more information on Trump, visit his campaign website:

Marco Rubio

Florida Senator Marco Rubio, represented by Sam Tobio, spent the debate voicing his concerns about the future of America and offering many solutions to these issues. On immigration, Rubio holds a more moderate view than most of his Republican counterparts. This was a generally positive point for Rubio, especially relative to what many considered the other more radical Republican candidates. Overall, Rubio’s Floridian and immigrant roots, along with more moderate stances proved to be a winner for the moderate conservatives in the crowd.

For more information on Rubio, visit his campaign website:

Dr. Ben Carson

Tommy Pierce gave a characteristically quiet performance of the calm Dr. Ben Carson. The neurosurgeon emphasized his history in the medical field and his distance from “the corruption of Washington.” His logical approach to healthcare reform proved popular among conservatives in the crowd, but controversial with liberal students who support Obamacare. Concerning his personal history, one student voiced that “He has made historically and scientifically inaccurate claims. He is radical in the sense that he makes controversial comments that I worry will affect his policies, especially international diplomacy.”

For more information on Carson, visit his campaign website:

Ted Cruz

Trace Cook portrayed Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Like Trump, Cruz became a lightning rod for liberal outrage over his stances on many social issues, including abortion and immigration. There is an overall sense of concern surrounding this right-wing populist, best summarized by one student who said, “Cruz is too much of an extremist. He is too uncompromising and has alienated moderates. He is biased against immigrants, considering he himself is an immigrant.”

For more information on Cruz, visit his campaign website:

Carly Fiorina

“She was set in her issues. She was eloquent, yet aggressive.” That’s how one student characterized former CEO Carly Fiorina. According to student feedback, Sabel Duncan was thought to have done a good job representing this tough, conservative candidate. She, too, has more moderate views and was better received than the fiery rhetoric of Trump and Cruz.

For more information on Fiorina, visit her campaign website: