Students cheer on Clinton but give advice

Member of the Forsyth County Board of Elections Flemming El-Amin talks to students about the importance of the election during a watch party

Students cheer on Clinton but give advice
September 29
08:30 2016

Photo by Tevin Stinson



On Monday night, millions of eyes were glued to TV sets across the country to watch the first presidential debate between Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump.

Students from Winston-Salem State University(WSSU) and others in the community watched arguably the most anticipated debate in history on the giant projector screen inside the Enterprise Center on South Martin Luther King Drive.

Before the debate, they also heard community leaders tell them how important the election is.

During the debate, Clinton and Trump tackled a number issues, including race relations, crime and policing, ISIS, the economy and education. Cheers echoed through the large room when Clinton discussed her plans to improve the education system and bring jobs to the country.

Although the majority of students attending the watch party were Clinton supporters, not everyone was pleased with her performance.

Senior nursing major Kelsey Jones said although she believes Clinton will be the next president, during the debate she spent too much time going back and forth with Trump.

“She touched on a number of issues, but I felt like she could have talked more about her platform,” said Jones. “She still has my vote, and I think she will win the election, but I just felt she wasn’t her best during the debate.”

Other young voters said Clinton did exactly what she needed to do to win the debate. Senior communications major Simone Joyner said she believes Clinton won the debate because she answered all the questions that were asked, unlike Trump.

Buck Green, a WSSU senior and co-founder of, a directory of black- owned businesses, believes that African-American voters will be the difference-maker in the presidential race. He said he thought Clinton won the debate, but she could’ve done more to appeal to black voters.

“She touched on the major topics, but to get more young black voters, she should have brought up Trump’s past, which is filled with bigotry and racism,” he said.

The next debate is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 9 in St. Louis.

Before Clinton and Trump squared off, Forsyth County Board of Elections member Flemming El-Amin led an open conversation on the importance of voting. El-Amin told the students that although they came together to watch the debate, the decisions they make at the polls on Nov. 8 will impact the country for the next 50 years.

“We’re just watching the debate, but this is about so much more,” he said.

El-Amin said that whoever is sworn in as the President of the United StateS early next year will have the power to nominate at least two candidates for the U.S. Supreme Court. He said when it comes to social economics, the judges that serve on the country’s highest court make decisions that last much longer than the tenure of the president.

As an example, El-Amin briefly discussed the landmark case Plessy vs. Ferguson, which upheld in 1896 the policy of “separate but equal” in state laws for all public facilities. Public facilities for blacks and whites remained separate until Brown vs. Board of Education repealed the law in 1954.

“From 1896 until 1954,” he said. “The supreme court justices made that decision.”

El-Amin, who pushed for an early voting site to be put on the campus of WSSU, also urged students to exercise their right to vote.

“This is nothing to play with. You must take this seriously,” he said. “Too many died and to many prayed for us to have this right. We can’t take it lightly.”

Longtime community and civil rights activist the Rev. Dr. John Mendez also urged the students to vote. As he stood in front of the giant screen just before debate moderate Lester Holt appeared, Mendez told the students, “You are leading the struggle.”

He said, “Brilliant young people are changing politics, and I want you to know that I am proud of you. People like me have run my race already, so where you lead me that’s where I’m going.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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