With the first presidential debate just hours away, the San Jose Mercury News reached out to SVUDL students to see what advice they had for the candidates. Although only Kierra's quotes made it into the official Mercury story, all of the students interviewed provided insightful feedback to the reporter. We're so proud of all of them and the critical thinking and knowledge of debate they show in their answers below. Read their advice, and their thoughts about the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate!
Kierra, East Palo Alto Phoenix Academy
"Be cool about what you’re doing and what you say, this is your defining moment so make sure you’re on your A-game. Be as cordial as possible and respect your opponent but be sure you hammer in the point that they lack skill and your argument is great. Both candidates have a great potential for power and leadership but they both let their egos get too much into them. Hillary shouldn’t have let the scandals get way out of hand - instead she could have come back as a strong opponent and said that everyone makes mistakes but at the end of the day I’m still going to be a great leader of this country. Trump, on the other hand, instead of being arrogant or rude he could have used his power and influence to swing the masses. Speaker-wise...Trump has done a very good job of making his character known throughout the media and the election. With Hillary on the other hand she started off as a powerhouse but kind of let that fade as time went on."
"I believe that the candidates, in same, need to focus on backing their own stances. The best thing would be to clarify and commit to previous arguments instead of their current barrage of insults, banger, and various other vacuous discourse.
Trump’s weakness and strength are one in the same - brutal honesty. His transparency on all topics is what makes him most appealing and yet a repugnant option. It’s great to see overbearing honesty in politics, it allows the public a real look into what will come of that candidate. Hillary’s greatest weakness is her lack of ability to be reliable or trustworthy. Hillary is the type of politician that states a position toward something and does something or in some way proves herself to be opposed to that thing. An example would be her saying she’s always supported the LGBTQ community even though she’s openly stated previously that a marriage should be between a man and a woman only. Her greatest strength is her flexibility and her being willing to conform to new and popular ideals."
"As a debater, I believe that they should both improve own their argument instead of raising their voices. At the end of the day they need to convince the people, not each other. It’s important that they prepare the most, listen to the questions, and give logical answers with clear warrants. I think they (Trump) shouldn’t waste their time in petty arguments, but instead convince us on why they are better – just like in any good debate, it’s about showing why your side is better and then answering your opponent."