The Wayne State University Speech and Debate Team and the Dean of Students Office hosted its fourth presidential debate watch on Tuesday evening. Students and faculty were given a space for dialogue regarding issues discussed between presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
The candidates debated topics and defended their stances relating to issues on criminal justice reform, economic policy, employment, tax cuts and racism towards African Americans— including the stop and frisk policy.
Donald Trump vocalized his advocacy for stop and frisks, a policy ruled unconstitutional, claiming that it decreased crime rates in New York. Sources have proved his claim wrong, and found that eliminating stop and frisks have eased the relationship between the NYPD and minority communities.
Sonali Reddy, a junior and member of WSU’s speech and debate team says “It’s impossible to execute a policy properly when it’s inherently racist. You cannot take racism out of it. By saying stop and frisk isn’t racist, you’re denying the entire basis of the policy itself.”
Reddy, a granddaughter to immigrants who have dealt with racism on a daily basis since the ‘60s, says that her cultural background as an American-Indian and her being a woman puts “two strikes against me as a person in this country,” she said. “It makes it even worse seeing a person like Donald Trump to completely deny the problems people like us face. He clearly does not understand that if you are not someone affected by a policy, then you have no room to assume how people like us feel about it.”
Many comments that Donald Trump has made during this election have spurred outrage and debate that deemed his comments racist, bigoted and sexist.
Andrew Malec, President of the College Republicans at WSU and a junior in criminal justice says, “There are people probably voting for Donald Trump because they are racist and I will say that those extremes are in both parties. Donald Trump never said all Muslims are terrorists. He never said all Mexicans are rapists. The thing that frustrates us Republicans is that’s what we want people to know.” he said. “It’s about safety, it’s about making sure [Americans] are safe.”
Malec says that although he was not originally a Trump supporter, he currently believes that Trump is fit to be the next president of the United States, mainly because of his financial experience. This experience, he says, will allow the creation of jobs and to lower the unemployment rate.
However, according to CNN Money, Moody’s Analytics predicted that under a Trump presidency, “About 3.5 million Americans would lose their jobs, unemployment would jump back to 7%, home prices would fall and the stock market would plummet.”
Donald Trump’s stance on financial reform also includes 15-35% tax decreases for large businesses and tax cuts on the rich, whom Clinton refers to as “Trumped up trickle down economics.”
During the debate, Clinton accused Trump of being dishonest with the American public by not releasing his tax returns. However, although Malec believes Trump should release his records, he says too much emphasis has been put on Donald’s financial records and not enough attention is put on Hillary’s.
“Hillary Clinton is hiding a hell of a lot of information from us and no one seems to care. [She] gives speeches to Goldman Sachs for five times the median income in the United States. She says she’s going to fight for the middle class—that doesn’t sound like fighting for the middle class. She talks about regulating Wall Street, but she works for Wall Street.” he said.
Sonali, who says she is voting for Clinton this upcoming November says that although Clinton has her faults, her 30-year political career has earned her trust.
“I think Hillary Clinton has a long standing political career in which she has learned how to actually listened to people who are affected by policies. She has been able to grow in her own position and understand how to implement policies that do not make people feel alienated,” she said.
Although many student opinions differ from one another, Dean of Students, Dr. David Strauss says that students engaging in healthy dialogue allows for growth and broadening of the mind.
“I think students will be learning how critical [this debate] is in our nation’s history,” Strauss said. “For a lot of these students, it’s their first time placing a presidential vote. This is a historical moment in our history, we’re either going to have our first female president or we’re going to have a president who has had no prior political experience.”