A few weeks ago, the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump drew 84 million television viewers, the most in the history of televised debates.
Most of the voters the Campus Times spoke to had already decided which candidate they preferred.
But we were able to find tens of people nationwide who were truly unsure of which candidate they preferred.
One such voter was Kyle Smith, from New York.
Asked about the election and his opinions of Clinton and Trump, he replied, “Who? What election? Wait, what year is it? Why am I in the hospital?” Doctors later informed us that Kyle had just woken up from a coma he had been in since 1967 and had never heard of either candidate.
Other voters we talked to had heard of both candidates and still somehow hadn’t chosen one before the debates.
Doug Berg, a registered Republican from a deeply religious Ohio family, was conflicted because Clinton is pro-choice, but Trump is publicly known to have broken at least seven of the 10 Commandments. He described his breaking point.
“I had read about all of Donald Trump’s patently false, violence-promoting, crime-admitting, uniquely-bigoted, and democracy-poisoning mouth spewage in the papers, but seeing him say it out loud in the hallowed halls of Hofstra University?,” Berg asked. “That was the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
“I’ve always believed that whoever pretends to be the most religious person must be the best candidate, but I think I might have to vote for Clinton this year,” he added.
Antonio Lorimel, a first-time voter from Whitesboro, CA, viewed the race from a different perspective.
“Ever since I became a democratic socialist six months ago, I was fully convinced that there are only two kinds of politicians,” he said. “On one hand there’s Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. This category is called ‘Good People,’ and they are the only two members of it. All other politicians belong to the other category, namely ‘Satan and All His Minions.’”
But the debates gave him a new perspective.
“As I listened to Hillary talk about policy while Trump lied about whether he had committed misdemeanor sexual assault, I realized that maybe some people who aren’t Bernie Sanders can plausibly be better than other people who also aren’t Bernie Sanders,” Lorimel said. “If that’s the case—and this is still only a theory I’m working on—I think Hillary would be immeasurably better than Trump on every metric. I’m starting to think that life under a Clinton presidency could be bearable. Maybe it would even be mildly pleasant!”
Mike, a registered Republican from Indiana, said the debates clarified what he had been worrying about since July.
“I had faith that Trump was just playing the primary crowd,” he said. “I thought his knack for changing positions without consequence would suit him ideally when pivoting to the general election to defeat the she-devil who FOX News has convinced me resides within Hillary’s soul. But based on the debates, it turns out he really is just a poorly-wrought clay sculpture inhabited by pure narcissism. I think I have to vote for the she-devil.”
Asked if such comments were appropriate from the current Republican nominee for Vice President, Pence replied, “What!? I thought this was off the record! Don’t you dare print that!”