Fordham Democrats Host 2020 Debate Watch Party


Kevin Stoltenborg/ The Fordham Ram

The College Democrats hosted their viewing party in Dealy. (Courtesy of Ram Archives)

On Thursday, Sept. 12, ABC News in partnership with Univision hosted the third Democratic primary debate at Texas Southern University. Viewers numbered close to 14 million, according to ABC, and among that count were students attending Fordham’s College Democrats watch party in Dealy Hall.

According to College Democrats President Michael Fissinger, FCRH ’21, about 50 people attended the watch party.

“Members came and went, but there was always a group watching during every portion of the debate,” he said.

Fissinger said he thinks people were pleased with how the debate turned out.

“We haven’t had a meeting since the debate to discuss everything that happened, so it’s hard to gather a consensus, but I think in general everyone was pleased with how the debate turned out,” he said.

Samantha Hardy, FCRH ’21, vice president of College Democrats, said people at the watch party were excited to see the top 10 Democratic candidates all on the same stage on the same night.

“There was a lot of energy and enthusiasm,” she said. “I know some attendees were glad to see foreign policy brought up in the debate, as it is an issue that was not a focus during the first two.”

On the topic of trade relations with China, moderator George Stephanopoulos asked the candidates whether they would repeal the tariffs President Donald Trump has placed on China. In a question posed specifically to Andrew Yang Stephanopoulos queried “Would you repeal the tariffs on your first day in office? And if so, would you risk losing leverage in our trade relationship with China?”

None of the candidates, including Yang said they would repeal the tariffs. Elizabeth Warren answered a similar question by saying she would negotiate with China to bring down tensions that have lead to a trade war and use the United States leverage to force the country to correct human rights violations.

“We have millions of Uighurs, for instance, in China that right now are being imprisoned and mistreated. And in North Korea, this president is elevating a dictator. We need to stop that. We need to return to ensuring that America leads again on human rights,” Warren said to applause.

Fissinger said that although no candidate in particular stood out, no one hurt their chances at winning the primary either. However, he did say that there were some standout moments.

He and Hardy agreed that they were impressed with Beto O’Rourke when he announced his willingness to implement a gun buy-back program in response to the shooting in El Paso.

Fissinger also cited U.S. Senator Kamala Harris’ (D-CA) and U.S. Senator Julián Castro’s (D-TX) strong moments.

“Kamala Harris put the healthcare portion of the debate on hold to remind everyone that Trump and the Republicans will do anything possible should they win power again to repeal Obamacare and take healthcare away from millions of Americans,” he said. “Julian Castro called out Joe Biden for wanting to take credit for the good portions of the Obama administration and claiming to have less influence on decisions that have been viewed poorly in hindsight.”

Hardy said she enjoyed the responses that all the candidates gave to the final question, which was about professional setbacks and how they dealt with them.

“Even though it was a classic job interview question, I thought the answers provided some of the most moving moments of the night,” she said.

Despite these moments, Hardy and Fissinger do not anticipate this debate shaking the race up in any major way.