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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Democratic Debate Was More Public Television Than Reality TV

USC students all agree the Democratic debate wasn't as entertaining as last month's GOP debate.


USC students seemed torn over whether Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton won last night’s Democratic debate, but all agreed that it was not as entertaining as the Republican debate. 

The debate was held on Tuesday night and the other candidates, who had very little airtime compared to Clinton and Sanders, were Martin O'Malley, former governor of Maryland, Lincoln Chafee, former governor of Rhode Island and Jim Webb, United States Senator from Virginia.

Some believe Bernie was superior. Kai Lucid, a senior, said Sanders won the debate because of his energy and attitude. “I feel like he was a real rebel rouser, a fiery politician,” he said. “He had an energy and anger when he spoke.” 

Lucid said the candidates seemed smart, but something was missing. “It made me proud to be a Democrat that our officials, or the people who are running for nomination, are mature enough to discuss issues, and intelligent enough to know issues they’re discussing about,” he said. “But it was much much more boring than the republican debate.”

The lack of entertainment in comparison to the Republican debate does not mean there was an absence of excitement. Ilia Labkovsky, a junior, said overall the debate was more substantive.

“I think they talked about more real issues, like climate change and the economy,” said Labkovsky. “The Republicans talked about themselves a little more.”

Some students say they are happy the debate was not a replay of the Republican matchup. Sahil Dhaliwal, senior, said the debate was more organized and professional. 

“They weren’t fighting each other like the Republican candidacy panel. I think it was a lot more adult, and a lot more we could take it seriously,” she said. “They weren’t biting at each other’s ankles. They were agreeing on issues that are supposed to be agreed upon by the Democratic Party.”

Some students could not decide who won. Danielle Fallon, a junior, said it was a close tie between Sanders and Clinton as the winner. “They seem to arouse the most excitement in the crowd and also on Twitter,” said Fallon. “I know a lot of people were reading Donald Trump’s Twitter during the debate too.” 

The students will have another change to consider the candidates on Nov. 14, 2015, the date of the next Democratic debate.
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