Local poli-sci class has watchful eye on debate
Dr. William Delehanty teaches political science at Missouri Southern State University. The department is hosting a debate watch party later tonight, but these students are watching the debate with a close eye.
Delehanty’s department constructed an informal ballot poll during Joplin’s most recent Third Thursday celebration, asking passerby’s to cast their vote with a ballot on their most favorable candidate. Their findings as well as national polls show the same cards; many undecided voters.
“At least currently, there are still a lot of people out there who are undecided or trying to consider alternatives. So the debate gives you really good upfront access to information that maybe can help determine your choice going into the general election,” Delehanty said.
Delehanty teaches students like Madison Kienzle, who has a pointed interest in seeing how Hillary Clinton navigates gender issues among other things.
“What I’m really interested to see is which Trump shows up. There’s really been two different Trumps we’ve seen in debates or in speeches. That’s the one really inflammatory speech, you know, just putting out these speeches that get the crowd really riled up. Then there’s also the Trump that seems more coached, more smooth, you can tell people are telling him what to say,” Kienzle said.
As for verbal and non-verbal things to watch for in the candidates, Delehanty says to keep an eye out for delayed responses and consistency from what candidates have said along the campaign trail, to how their answers may change tonight.
“So open-mindedness, receptivity to information, hopefully to enhance choices, I think the debate will definitely serve people’s interests,” Delehanty said.
Other students, like Neosho native Baron Eastin, have certain issues they’re watching for.
“Gun rights, how they go about race and gender, because that’s obviously another big topic going on right now. If they answer it in a way you feel like would lead them to a good president,” Eastin said.
Tonight will be the first time Clinton and Trump confront one another in the same physical space.