High passions and strong resolve: The presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis


Students sit on the quad to watch the debate at the FOX News booth. Photo by Asia Key.

Asia Key, The Black Bear – Traveling east on Interstate-44, from Springfield to St. Louis, the road is lined with large signs promoting republican candidate Donald Trump, and perhaps one or two smaller signs in support of democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. One billboard reads, “This is the face of a pathological liar – HiLIARy” with a picture of Clinton’s face twisted into a frown, right down the street from a Lynch’s furniture store.


Photo by Asia Key.

The same atmosphere was prevalent at the FOX news booth set up on Washington University’s campus, where the Presidential Debate was held Sunday, Oct. 9. Trump supporters passions were high and Clinton supporters were resolved.


Photo by Asia Key.

Cynthia Maue, a self-proclaimed “devoted democrat” carried a sign that read, ‘Hillary Celebrates Dead Babies’ and admitted that she does not know much about Clinton’s politics.


Photo by Asia Key.

“I’m voting for Trump because he’s not Hillary,” Maue said. “I know enough about him to know he’s not her.”

In between shouts to the crowd of students that disagreed with her pro-life beliefs and aversion to the feminist movement, for which she credited America’s demise, Maue summarized what she believed to be her preferred candidate’s stance.

“Trump’s policy is that he’s pro-America,” Maue said. “He’s gonna kick ISIS’s ass and he’s gonna bring back our jobs.”

Maue also said she trusts the judgement of men over women. She said the independence of women in recent years is unnatural.

“It goes against everything God sent down,” Maue said.   


Photo by Asia Key.

Kiyana Merritt, 24, and Shanea Turner-Smith, 24, are graduate students at Washington University and watched the debate at the university’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion. They both spend a lot of time in the Black Student Union and are members of the American Indian Association. Both will be voting for Hillary Clinton on Nov. 8.

“It would be stupid of me not to disclose, because I am voting for Hillary,” Merritt said.

Turner-Smith added that the Clinton campaign is problematic.

It’s definitely a tight race with the candidates,” Turner-Smith said. “Not saying I’m voting for Trump or I think he’s fit to be president, but I do think there are some things the Clinton administration did to the African American community that were hurtful.”


Shanea Turner-Smith (R) and Kiyana Merritt (L), studying for their masters of social work at the debate Oct. 9. Photo by Asia Key.

Despite this, Turner-Smith believes that electing Hillary Clinton would be groundbreaking for America.

“I still believe it’s a historic moment for women, to be running for president and possibly be the first (woman) president of the United States,” Turner-Smith said. “Therefore, kind of like what Angela Davis said, I don’t think I’m too narcissistic not to vote for her, given that my ancestors did fight for me to vote.”



Photo by Asia Key.

Maurice Woodside, 56, holds a sign that reads, “Blacks For Trump” and smiles into the cameras and lights. He stays long after the crowd of students have gone, after FOX has packed up and moved on. He passes out his card with the name  – which links to a website that references him as Michael Nicholson. He is voting for Donald Trump for several reasons.

“He says he wants to take taxes down to 10 percent, 15 percent for businesses,” Symonette said. “Right now it’s like 41 percent – which is why all the businesses are leaving America. So now they’ll all come back and we’ll have more jobs for the people here.

“Then 98 percent of people will be paying taxes, instead of 2 percent.

“He wants to get rid of the IRS, which means now our debt is gone. Central bankers are destroying us.

“Then he wants to kill the regulations, he wants to stop all regulations. I think that should be done because guess what? East Indians, Africans, Pakistanians , they are able to do business under the the ‘most favorable immigrant act.’ They don’t pay taxes.  They’re called ‘the untouchables.’ The word ‘untouchables’ comes from the word ‘caste,’ because they were cast out. They were cast out because they are the sons of Ishmael. Because Abraham cast Hagar and Ishmael out, Hagar is mad – and she’s been mad until this day. That’s why, when I visited Saudi Arabia and other countries like that, they have a plot to kill the black woman of America.”

Symonette said they want to do that by inciting a “race war.”

“That’s why they named themselves ISIS, because Isis is the nickname to Hagar and all Egyptian queens have always called themselves Isis. So when they kill you they gone say, ‘I told you I would get revenge on you, this is ISIS talking!'”


Michael Woodside, who has gone by many names over the years, holds a sign at the FOX News booth. Photo by Asia Key.

Turner-Smith said that, as the school of social work at Washington University, they have a strong commitment to social justice and helping marginalized communities. She and many of her peers in the department do not believe in the rhetoric Donald Trump has put forth.

“We’re voting just because we are a profession that is against racism and we’re fighting for the people,” Turner-Smith said. “[Donald Trump’s] rhetoric is very damaging, and that’s why we don’t support him.”

Merritt added that people who aren’t voting because they do not like either candidate, or who are too set in their ways to make an informed choice, are playing a dangerous game.

“We have to take responsibility for our future and [voting] is the only way we’re gonna do it,” Merritt said.

“Joke or not, we need to place a serious vote,” Merritt said.


Photo by Asia Key.


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