By Janee Law & Jano Tantongco
There wasn’t an empty seat at the Cinema Arts Centre Monday night as a live screening of the first presidential debate was attended by roughly 100. When the clock struck 9 p.m., a hush silence came over the crowd as Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump came on the screen and walked over to their podiums at Hofstra University in Hempstead.
Marie Viscardi, of Centerport, said she hoped the candidates would debate topics like healthcare and foreign policy.
She was hoping to use the debate to “make an educated decision.” She wanted to see for herself the difference between Clinton and Trump, “not just hear it from people on Facebook.”
Sadly, she added, the end product seemed more like a comedy than a debate. The crowd at the cinema chuckled every now and then, in between mouthfuls of popcorn.
To Northport native Brian Raber, the debate helped to distinguish the candidates from each other.
“I learned a lot about what they’re doing with the trade deals and how Trump wants to change that to make it more beneficial to America. And I think he’s on the right track,” Raber said.
Adam Brodsky, of Huntington, who said he is a Clinton supporter, agreed that Trump raised some interesting issues about trade.
“It’s interesting to see how both candidates handle themselves in the debate,” Brodsky said. “It takes away from the media frenzy when you see them in person interacting with each other.”
The cinema will also be streaming the vice presidential debate on Oct. 4, the second presidential debate on Oct. 9 and the third presidential debate on Oct. 19. All of the debates are scheduled to begin at 9 p.m.
Thoughts, Reactions From Hofstra’s Campus
Supports of both candidates flocked to the debate perimeter at Hofstra University on Monday.
State Assemblyman Chad Lupinacci (R-South Huntington) said he was filled with pride as he stood on the campus before the debate commenced.
“With 100 million people viewing, it’s the hottest seat in town,” Lupinacci, a three-time Hofstra grad, said before the candidates took to their respective podiums.
Lupinacci said that it’s uncertain how much the debate will affect polls, but knew one thing was clear.
“People are looking for answers. People are looking for detailed plans,” Lupinacci, a Trump supporter, said.
Melville resident Anthony Calos, a freshman, said before the debate that the country needs an “outsider” to unseat established politicians and take the White House.
“I’m a Trump supporter because I love his policies. He wants to turn it around,” Calos, a business major, said. “He’s not paid off by anybody. Hillary is the complete opposite. She’s been in the system for 20 years. She hasn’t done anything to help us and our people.”
After the debate, 20-year-old sophomore Konrad Zegota, of Poland, said the candidates focused too much on each other, rather than on the issues at hand.
“I think debates should actually look like they should use more of their policies instead of using arguments against each other just to mock the opponent,” he said.
Zegota, a chemistry major, leans toward Clinton, but supports Trump’s tax-lowering philosophy. However, while he cannot vote, he is against the candidate’s immigration policy.
“He wants to make it harder. I’m not sure if I want to settle here, but, if I do, I don’t want to have trouble doing that,” he said.
Elana Delafraz, a 21-year-old public relations major, thought both candidates were “very cutthroat,” but she didn’t expect otherwise.
Delafraz, a senior, said she actively checked fact checking websites during the debate.
She added, “A lot of the things they were saying were completely false, so that was really eye-opening.”