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Hillary Clinton

A six-year-old James meets Hillary Clinton in 2008. Photo from Anne Shybunko-Moore

On Friday, Jan. 20, about 900,000 people are expected to be gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to witness Donald Trump being sworn in as the nation’s 45th president.

Among the crowd of thousands will be selected future leaders from schools across the country, including James Moore, a sophomore at Ward Melville High School, who will represent Long Island in a five-day program surrounding the historic event.

The Presidential Inauguration Leadership Summit, held between Jan. 18 and 22, gives students like James the opportunity to take part in a series of workshops, seminar discussions and presentations that coincide with the inauguration, listen to world-renowned speakers — some of this year’s honored guests include General Colin Powell, the youngest-ever Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai via video satellite, renowned filmmaker Spike Lee, former governor of Maryland Martin O’Malley (D) and Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson — and gain a perspective on local, national and global issues facing their generation.

Ward Melville High School student James Moore will attend the Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C. Jan. 20. Photo from Anne Shybunko-Moore

James was invited to participate in the exclusive experience as an alumnus of the Junior National Young Leaders Conference, which he was chosen to join by his elementary school teacher when he was entering seventh grade.

He served on the student council and Junior Honor Society while at Gelinas Junior High in East Setauket, received Triple C Award upon graduating sixth grade for demonstrating outstanding “Courage, Character, and Commitment throughout the school,” has volunteered at Island Harvest packaging food for the homeless and received the New York State Scholar-Athlete Team Award in 2015 as a varsity-level track runner who maintained a GPA of 90 percent or better during the season.

Additionally, James volunteers at Setauket Presbyterian Church by helping to teach Sunday school.

“Being part of history is a big part of why I wanted to go,” James said in an interview. “I’m looking forward to hearing the other side of politics, how people are seeing things from around the country, and just getting to be with people who are similar to me … it’s cool to be able to think and be part of this [moment] together.”

He said the 2016 presidential election was “surprising” and “interesting to watch.”

“I remember waking up after the election was over going ‘wow, that happened?’” he said. “[But] I’m not upset with it and I’m not going to go out and complain about it but it threw me off.”

While he said he’s excited about learning more about the political process, and hearing Yousafzai’s speak in particular, the 15-year-old from Setauket is no stranger to interacting with major politicians and voicing his thoughts on social, environmental and community issues in public forums.

In fact, as the son of two presidents of major defense and trade manufacturing companies on Long Island whose event guest lists frequently include Hillary and Bill Clinton, James has been politically engaged practically since birth.

“He’s met Bill and Hillary a few times, Congressman Steve Israel, Congressman Tim Bishop; he’s met these folks and he’s very confident and comfortable in speaking with people in leadership roles,” his mother, GSE Dynamics President Anne Shybunko-Moore, said. “James has grown up in a very aware environment … because of what I do, we’re always watching the news and talking about the issues.”

“I remember waking up after the election was over going ‘wow, that happened?’”

— James Moore

James even participated in Hillary Clinton’s campaign last February and is interested in an internship position at Assemblyman Steve Englebright’s (D-Setauket) office.

His mother said her son has a “sincere realness” that makes him a natural leader.

“He’s always been very thoughtful,” she said. “He’ll see a situation and be like ‘what can I do to help or change that?’ That’s just who he is.”

James’ father, Manufacturing Consortium of Long Island President Jamie Moore, said he hopes his son gets a “fire lit” and obtains an understanding of what he can do with his life from his experience in Washington.

“I see so many of these kids just kind of floating through, and playing Pokemon Go or whatever, and there are so many opportunities they could be doing to increase their knowledge, help out other people, help other communities and this is one of those things that will hopefully help open his eyes and give him some ideas,” he said. “We try to craft that by giving him enough experiences to get out there and try new things.”

While in D.C., James said he’ll be following his program itinerary by day and studying for his school midterms by night.

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When I was a child, my parents would sometimes take me out of the city and to the Catskill Mountains where my father was raised. There, in rustic accommodation, we would spend some weeks during the summer, happy to be out of the heat and humidity. But for a child used to the protective shield of tall urban buildings, I would be fearful when a summer storm, with high gusts, thunder and lightning would rage across the country horizon and pelt the windows and roof of our cabin.

Seeing my fright, my mother would leap into action. “Oh good,” she would say. “It’s a perfect day for pancakes.” As I would watch, she would whip eggs and milk from the antiquated refrigerator, then heat some cooking oil in a pan. She would ask me to beat the eggs while she measured out the flour and in short order the divine smell of frying pancakes would fill the kitchen. The storm outside now merely made the feast inside more cozy and safe, and by the time my mother, sister and I finished eating and looked up from the table, the summer squall would be gone.

Security, thy name was silver dollar pancakes.

In these unsettled times of postpresidential election, how I wish I could cook up some pancakes to help calm the people around me. My neighbors, my friends, our readers, many of them seem anxious, even afraid. Whether they voted for Clinton or Trump, they don’t like what they are hearing about bullying, demonstrations that can turn violent and slurs that seem to have been unleashed by the election. With each possible pick for the new administration, from chief strategist to possible EPA chief to a trial balloon for secretary of state, a shudder goes through the minds of many. Our outgoing president urges us to give some space to the incoming one, and then leaves the country for his last overseas trip. He has already visited Greece with Germany and Peru to follow, undoubtedly to try and calm those unsettled by the election in distant capitals. Anxiety, it seems, is global, but not entirely.

The stock markets are celebrating. The prospect of government spending on infrastructure and tax cuts that will stimulate the economy has sent the markets around the world on a tear as they hit all-time highs. Monetary policy is out — fiscal stimulus is in. At least that is the presumption at this first blush of transition to a new administration.

Meanwhile we have a country that is equally divided. What could be better proof than to have the razor-thin popular vote go one way and the Electoral College go the other way. How do we deal with that?

Despite the closeness of the election, the fact remains that the GOP won and won across the board: senators, representatives and governors. At least the next two years of political party leadership have been determined, and there is no further contest for now. But we also, as a democracy, are obligated to protect the rights of the minority — all minorities. That’s the part of the definition that some majorities don’t get. If we could all acknowledge and teach that point, those who feel threatened because they are in the minority could stop being afraid.

Further, the GOP is not a monolithic bloc — there is not just one shade of red. Nor are the Dems just one color blue. There is enough potential for bipartisanship as long as neither side digs in and vows to prevent cooperation between the parties. We Americans want our elected leaders to work actively on our behalf, not just to abdicate and coast in office. It will take the best of both sides to steer our nation through these challenging times. And by the way, the times have always been challenging.

We, on Long Island, have set a pretty good example with our state, county and town legislators often working together for the regional good, regardless of party. So there is hope. That’s my impression — and I’m not just serving up pancakes.

Michael and Cindy Rawdin, Dix Hills residents, said they support Hillary Clinton for president. Photo by Kevin Redding

As Long Island residents get ready for election day next week, some are certain for whom they will cast their ballot, and others are still undecided.

sarahleanzaportjeffwSarah Leanza, Port Jefferson

Q: Who are you voting for?

A: Clinton. Not because I necessarily trust her like anybody else, but because he’s [Trump] a misogynist, crazy … I think he’s horrific. I’m a little nervous about her, but I think she has a lot of experience at least, and I think what is wonderful is Trump has created a situation that’s going to make her make sure she’s accountable. I think she’s going to have to be very careful while she’s in office because there are so many people behind him who are so angry, so that makes me trust her situation better. He was like a necessary evil, I think.

Roe Waltmann, Coramroewaltmanncorame

Q: Who are you voting for?

A: I like Trump. I think he’s very gung-ho and I really believe that he can do the things he says he can do — unless I’m naïve. But I don’t want Hillary Clinton; I don’t want a politician. I want somebody with new blood that’s not a politician.

Now, he’s become a politician along the way without him realizing, but I really think he can energize [the country, but] if he doesn’t get the Republican Senate he’s not going to do too much.

Even though in his mind he’s saying he could, he can’t. And my family wants Trump too because they want somebody new, and that’s how we all feel. I think he’s so energetic and he can revitalize things, and I know he’s going to surround himself with good people. But he should keep his mouth closed sometimes.

ericcorleyportjeffw

Eric Corley, Port Jefferson

Q: Who are you voting for?

A: Clinton, because she knows what she’s doing, and there may be some stuff I don’t agree with — probably a lot of stuff — but you have to think of all the people that are going to be brought in as a result of a Clinton administration as opposed to the people who would be brought in with a Trump administration. You look at all the things that have changed over the last eight years, not all of which are good, but so much has changed and that’s all the result of who we elected. We have to think beyond the personalities and beyond whatever is in the media, so that’s why I think it’s an easy choice.

Tommy Parris, Port Jeffersontommyparrisportjeffw

Q: Who are you voting for?

A: I actually truly haven’t decided yet. I mean, I was leaning more toward Trump initially. There’s not enough accurate information out there; a lot of the stuff that they’re putting out there is very vague, very generic. They’re not being too specific in their campaigns. Everyone’s spoon feeding everybody what they want to hear. They’re basically telling them “Oh yeah, we’re going to make more money, we’re going to fix the economy.” It’s all slogans and sales pitches. And coming from someone in sales, you can see right through that. What’s the plan that goes beyond that?

I like the fact that although Trump is not as delicate as he should be or as sensitive with the way he uses his words, he’s more transparent in the sense that you know who you’re dealing with for better or worse, so you can kind of know what to expect. With Hillary, she’s more quiet, cunning; you really don’t know much what’s going on. She’s a better politician when it comes down to it. I think it would be good to have a Republican state of mind back in the office just to kind of balance things out.

raymonddiazmountsinaieRaymond Diaz, Mount Sinai

Q: Who are you voting for?

A: Donald J. Trump, because of the political corruption and the political correctness with Hillary. It just kills me all the scandals and all the people covering up for her; it’s horrible. Trump says some mean things but would you rather have someone say a bunch of horrible things to your face and be your friend or talk behind your back? Oh, it makes me sick. I am such a die-hard Trump fan, and it’s not that I love Trump. We just need change. All the corruption in the government, and she’s just a liar.

Trump’s not the best guy in the world, but even if he does a horrible job, what’s wrong with wiping out the government for four years? Getting all the corrupt people out and starting from scratch.

mikebarbamalvernewMike Barba, Malverne

Q: Who are you voting for?

A: I’m actually voting for Gary Johnson, just because I don’t agree with Hillary [Clinton] on matters, and I don’t think Trump has enough political experience for it. He just talks a little too much for my liking, so I’ll be doing the alternative independent vote.

Although Gary Johnson had some slipups on his foreign policy, I still think there should be more than a two-party system in the country. In the United Kingdom, they have more than two, as well as a few other countries.

When conservatives and liberals are so far left and far right, it’s nice to have more of a middle ground and somebody who’s more bipartisan on a bunch of matters. Even though the independents realistically won’t win — him or Jill Stein — I think there will be enough independent votes that it will be a little more eye-opening for the country in general just to see “wow, maybe there should be a third candidate to be putting in.”

michaelcindyrawdinphotowMichael and Cindy Rawdin, Dix Hills

Q: Who are you voting for?

Michael: I’d only vote for Clinton. I know she’s imperfect but I would never dream of voting for [Trump] because I know him personally and he’s a disgraceful human being. I owned a website, GoTrump.com, that we opened in January 2006. We had it for 3 years with that “lovely” man. His staff was great, he was disgraceful … always.

Cindy: We brought him into the online travel industry. He wasn’t it in then in 2006. But because of his greed as well, we did not make a lot of money because Trump cut the biggest piece of pie for himself. We really know that Clinton is the brightest and most sophisticated and most experienced, and she’s an elitist. She’s intelligent.

Michael: She actually knows what she’s speaking about. The other one is faking it at all times. He didn’t even prep for the debates, which I found truly amazing. People are so desperate for change that they’ll vote for a psychopath. He’s really quite sick. The stupid things he says, the idiotic way he reacts, the fact that he screwed thousands of little guys out of their money. They’d go work at the Taj Mahal and just get screwed. He’s so unfit to be anything but a… make believe billionaire. He’s just a fraud.

craigmarcottwCraig Marcott, Huntington

Q: Who are you voting for?

A: It’s really an election of the perceived lesser of two evils in this case. My vote will be on the Republican ticket because I think he’s the lesser of the two evils in this one. It’s been incredible. Right down to the end, they’re just not stopping, between the email stuff on one side, the stuff on him on the other side. They’re two of the most defective candidates we’ve ever had. I’m voting more for the philosophy and for the Supreme Court justices. I don’t think our country can handle two more liberal Supreme Court justices that will rule the country for the next quarter of the century.

Image by Mike Sheinkopf
Image by Mike Sheinkopf

By Elina Mukherjee

In India, 8,431 miles away and 18 months earlier, the American election campaign was an obscure topic of discussion for me. Things would not have changed much to this present day had it not been so much of a ridiculous spectacle. From the outside, when you look at how a country like America would conduct its campaign, you expect suavity for that matter. But even to a layman, what would garner attention is the total brashness of the nature of the campaign and its controversies.

For one, Donald J. Trump has been the star of the show with his specimen of utter cloddishness and hard-hearted comments as a presidential candidate on topics related to Islam, his salacious comments on women and his brashness of belonging to the elite class. Where on one hand, many eminent leaders and visionaries root for peace and unity by bridging the gap between national mind-sets and borders, Trump, in his extremist self, is advocating the very opposite. Building a wall to prevent Mexican invasion of the country or putting an extra scan on Muslims who enter the States, to only name a few, stimulate the fire. What is unprecedented is the staggering number of Trump supporters who think him to be a fresh breath of air in the race for the White House. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has come out better, maintaining a dignified stance and prompting fewer furrowed eyebrows. But overall, this election has been nothing less than a mockery to the world of what America has come to.

Dividing in the name of religion is a potential peril. The unpalatable truth for the citizens is to understand the pressure they are under, bearing the tag of being the foremost nation in the world and always being looked up to, its leader should lead the way to a promising future because the world is in dire need of help. As an Indian, it is sad to see Indian Americans — or a group of Indians back home — supporting Trump primarily on the basis of their common abhorrence of Islam. However dark it may sound, a lot of us harbor grudges or hatred against other communities or peoples or sects. But, if a world leader starts encouraging people to express their grudges overtly, that sets a dangerous example. It unites people based on a wrong cause where the effect of such ill preaching is not limited nationally but tends to go worldwide. In order to maintain a good relationship with India, his camaraderie should be toward Indians in general and not Hindus particularly, as India also has the third largest Muslim population in the world.

Unlike American elections, Indian national elections do not have debates among the candidates. In India, and in numerous other countries in the world, candidates routinely attempt to bolster their position by slandering others, by trading insults. In a democracy, I reckon, having debates between candidates is a progressive step. However, going by the nature of the last three debates, its principal purpose seems to have been defeated for the most part.

America has always led from the front when it comes to being progressive. The cornerstone of much of Trump’s election campaign has been dissemination of negativity and animosity. Many of his proposed policies are regressive to say the least. As an outsider, I — and many others like me — fear that if America chooses divisiveness over integration, it would be a harsh moral setback for many of the developing countries.

Hillary Clinton’s lead in the polls at this point in the election cycle hardly guarantees victory. Image by Mike Sheinkopf
Hillary Clinton’s lead in the polls at this point in the election cycle hardly guarantees victory. Image by Mike Sheinkopf

By Dan Kerr

I did not vote for Donald Trump in the New York primary. His comments about women are loathsome, and I believe it is likely he kissed and groped women during his television career. However, his words and actions pale in comparison to how the Clintons have treated women throughout their careers.

Bill and Hillary Clinton represent what I call the Chappaquiddick wing of the Democratic Party. Under this umbrella, it does not matter how you treat women as long as you support abortion on demand and the appointment of liberal Supreme Court justices. For example, a senator from Massachusetts can leave a young woman to drown at the bottom of a pond, get re-elected, and go on to become “the Lion of the Senate.”

An attorney general from Arkansas can rape a nursing home executive, get elected governor and demand that a low-level state employee perform oral sex on him. The same sexual predator can then go on to become president, use a cigar to penetrate a young woman in the Oval Office, fondle and grope a recent widow who came to him for counsel, lie under oath in a sexual harassment case, get impeached and disbarred from practicing law in Arkansas and before the Supreme Court and go on to become “first gentleman.” It is also OK for Hillary to laugh as she won her first case in Arkansas, when she minimized the sentence of a 41-year-old man who so savagely raped a 12-year-old girl that she could never have children. If you are concerned about how to explain Donald Trump to your daughters, how will you explain the Clintons?

The Sunday New York Times included “I Live in a Lie: Saudi Women Speak Up.” It documents the oppression of women in Saudi Arabia. A March 8, 2015, New York Times article (“Hillary Clinton Faces Test of Record as Women’s Advocate”) disclosed that Saudi Arabia had given more than $10 million to the Clinton Foundation. While Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state, the State Department faulted Saudi Arabia for “a lack of equal rights for women and children,” and said “violence against women, human trafficking and gender discrimination, among other abuses, were all common there.” Apparently, the Chappaquiddick wing provides cover to “fight for women” while simultaneously collecting tens of millions from Saudi Arabia and the like-minded misogynist states of the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Algeria and Brunei.

Today in The Hill, Assistant FBI Director James Kallstrom (the man who headed the TWA 800 investigation) stated, “the Clinton’s are a crime family.” I am reminded of the climactic scene in “Godfather II” when Kate confronts Michael Corleone over her recent miscarriage. “Oh, Michael. Michael, you are blind. It wasn’t a miscarriage. It was an abortion. An abortion, Michael. Just like our marriage is an abortion. Something that’s unholy and evil … It was a son, Michael! A son! And I had it killed because this must all end!” For the good of this country, I believe the “unholy and evil” reign of the Clintons must end as well.

A few days before FBI Director Comey’s letter to Congress, Kimberley Strassel wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “This is how the Clintons operate; they do not change. Anyone that pulls the lever for Mrs. Clinton takes responsibility for setting the nation up for all of the blatant corruption that will follow.” The Clintons are the greater of two evils.

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One fact that we can all agree on at the tail end of this clamorous and divisive election season is how happy we are that it is almost over. In a presidential campaign that has been part entertainment, part embarrassment, only slightly about the grave issues of the day, but wholly history making, the people are exhausted. Bombarded relentlessly with political messages, robocalls, knocks at the door, endless campaign literature and ugly ads, citizens are yearning for an end. May it all truly be over next Tuesday night.

For all the talk, though, about how insufferable the electioneering has been, the candidates have gotten the attention, albeit negatively, of the electorate. At business lunches, during hair-stylist appointments, at cocktail parties and the daily exchanges at the bus stops, the latest election tomfoolery is the topic of the day. Conversations about the weather, that perennial conversation fodder, are finally being overtaken by the latest political revelations. For a nation that has long been declared apolitical, we breathlessly keep up with who has hurled what insult at whom and what new leaks the media are revealing. It seems to matter little if the leaks are corroborated or not, and social media, the preferred vehicle for dissemination, does not automatically offer any fact checking. Anyone can get away with saying anything, and the more outrageous and indecent, the greater number of viewers. The gloves of decency and civility are off.

In our presidential election, we are exploring the twists and turns of sexual accusations — out in the open for everyone to see. London’s backbenchers in Parliament pale with their insults compared to us. At least theirs are often witty. Except for Saturday Night Live, there has been little in these last two years of intense campaigning to earn a good laugh.

Has our country demonstrated less bigotry by naming a woman as standard-bearer for one of the two major parties? Or has our obvious double standard become only more painfully obvious, with so many men declaring publicly their unwillingness to ever vote for a woman as leader? The same question, about race rather than gender, was posed eight years ago when we elected the first black president. With painful irony, amidst our self-congratulatory open-mindedness, it seems more racial incidents have played out since that election than when George Wallace stood in the doorway and refused entry to black school children. Will the same ironies ensue in the event of a Clinton victory?

Perhaps it is cleansing to have our faults out in the open — acknowledgement as the first step toward healing. At least there has been no talk about ageism the way there was during the Reagan campaign in 1980. Both candidates today are within a couple of years of each other and of the biblical endpoint of three score and ten. At least that is something to be grateful for.

In this election season, as with every other during which we have been publishing, we have tried hard to remain as neutral as possible and present you, our readers, with the news in a balanced fashion. There are a number of local races, all critically important for their ultimate effects on our daily lives. As we have always done, we have spent hundreds of hours throughout the month of October interviewing candidates for each local office, two-by-two, and we have asked them questions and passed the answers along to you in our election section this week. We have also distilled this information during many more hours of discussion among our editorial board members and offered endorsements on our editorial pages. In no way do we intend this to dictate how you should vote. Rather we are telling you how we will vote after the journalistic privilege of personally questioning the candidates and covering the incumbents throughout their terms.

We owe you, our readers, no less.

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baroness and former leader of the British House of Lords, Margaret Jay, came to Stony Brook University to speak to us about “The new populism in America and Britain: What has happened to our politics?” The talk, which was open to the public and well attended, drew parallels between Trumpism and the Brexit movement in Britain and served as one way to understand our preelection frenzy.

Populism, as a political ideology, views virtuous citizens as mistreated by small circles of elites to be overthrown. In Britain, where jobs are drying up and wages have been stagnant for those 31-59 years of age for decades, migrants have been pouring into the country — some 330,000 in the last year, looking for jobs and a good life. Citizens are angry. The landscape has changed and a common cry is, “I don’t recognize the town I grew up in,” as a result of the changes. As a member of the European Union, Britain had open borders for laborers throughout the 28-member countries even as British workers could in turn move anywhere within the EU from Britain.

Baroness Jay of Paddington, daughter of former Prime Minister James Callaghan, told us that there are four times as many Brits collecting unemployment insurance in Germany as there are Germans collecting unemployment in Britain. Nonetheless, the “elites” and the politicians are seen by the British middle class as being unresponsive and only self-serving, and there is a deep sense of insecurity in the country. In such an environment, the message, “Support Brexit to take back control,” resonates and sounds not dissimilar to “Make America great again.” These slogans would seem to pit the common people against the top 1 percent.

Leaders of populist movements have certain characteristics in common, as the baroness pointed out. They tend to be blunt to the point of crude. The media loves them for their irresistible sound bites and the attention they draw from the public, and offers them a platform. Interestingly in this comparison of Britain and the United States, those who would speak “for the people” are not actually “of the people.” They feel none of the economic insecurities but seek to identify with the millions of citizens. That is certainly the case with “billionaire” Trump and also the leaders of the Brexit campaign, who are from the upper classes.

Populism is spreading in Europe. Will it spread here? That is the question Margaret Jay poses for us.

For the United Kingdom, there are other serious issues. Will the four parts of the country stay together? Scotland and Northern Ireland resoundingly voted to stay in the EU, while Wales and England voted to leave. Also there is what the baroness described as an “unpleasant divide” between foreign workers, who are increasingly viewed as taking away jobs, benefits and even lifestyle, and the citizens. The Brexit vote seems to have given legitimacy to the antagonisms. Then there are the matters of making separate trade agreements with 27 other countries, and the pound sterling exchange rate.

Meanwhile what has Brexit done to the rest of the EU? Other countries, with similar movements, are stirring. There is even the thought that the Brexit vote may have caused matters to improve elsewhere, as politicians heed the message sent by the voters.

The solution, proposed by Baroness Jay, lies in rebuilding the center. We must not become fortresses of isolation, she warns, either in trade or of xenophobia. Pluralism and diversity are the way of the future, and in the U.S. these ideas are baked into our democracy. To rebuild the center involves a role for education. Tellingly some 75 percent of the more educated in Britain voted to stay in the EU, while about the same number, 75 percent of the less educated, voted to leave. The latter are those for whom the present system is not working. And while this picture of current politics, is specific to Britain at the moment, the dark and unpleasant nature of this past Sunday’s presidential debate here would urge us to pay further attention to the people whose needs are not being met.

Supporters for both candidates are out early on debate day at Hofstra. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

A growing trend this election season amongst newspapers, politics-centric websites, pollsters and even candidates is to fact-check claims made by presidential hopefuls or their litany of staffers during speeches, debates and other public forums in real time.

In theory, that makes perfect sense. Candidates should be taken to task for false claims they make in public when attempting to appeal to voters. During the first presidential debate, Sept. 26 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump, each took turns making statements and accusations that were later proven false by the army of fact-checkers listening closely.

Trump asserted that the stop-and-frisk policy did wonders for crime rates in New York City during its short-lived run. Fact-checks by the Associated Press, the Washington Post and CNN yielded no proof of stop-and-frisk impacting crime rates. Trump accused Clinton of “flip-flopping” her position on The Trans-Pacific Partnership, a global trade deal, which she initially supported and referred to as “the gold standard.” The same cast of fact-checking characters nabbed Clinton for switching positions in the debate aftermath.

Fact-checking during and immediately following the first presidential debate was a useful tool for American voters. However, if checking facts were this important throughout the primary process, it’s possible Americans might be choosing from a different slate of candidates Nov. 8.

Our editorial staff wonders how much of an effect fact-checking has on voters. How many Trump and Clinton supporters heard their candidate say something that was later proved false, and actually started reflecting on if that mattered to them? Fact-checking is important, and it’s great that so many media outlets are devoting resources to it. It’s part of what separates news organizations from the rest of the social media storm that ensues during and after major events. We hope the increase in fact-checking doesn’t fall on deaf-ears, and voters take notice of when their candidates are proven wrong.

Supporters for both candidates are out early on debate day at Hofstra. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

By Victoria Espinoza

A historic political event, which carried what felt like an unprecedented level of uncertainty, took place close to home Sept. 26.

Hofstra University was the place to be, as thousands of reporters, protestors, students and politicians flocked to the Hempstead campus to witness a debate featuring the first female presidential nominee of a major political party in United States history and one of the most powerful businessmen in the world. Hillary Clinton (D) and Donald Trump (R) were the main attraction, but there was so much more to be seen and heard on campus in the hours leading up to show time.

Major news outlets from all over the world covered the event.

The scene was already buzzing around 10 a.m. Businesses set up booths to hand out free debate gear, and MSNBC, Fox News and CNN were already warming up their outdoor stages for a full day of coverage.

Some students carried signs with Clinton and Trump’s name, while others raised humorous, homemade signs with messages like “Mom, please come pick me up, I’m scared.” Freshmen to seniors visited the photo booths and interview stands set up, and seemed enthused and excited to be a part of the historic day.

One of the more popular activities of the day was an inflatable, replica White House for students to jump around in. In the early morning it lit up the parking lot and seemed like a spot students would enjoy a carefree few minutes after the stations focused on national issues were seen.

But soon enough, the inflatable White House became a backdrop for a serious scene.

Dozens of #BlackLivesMatter supporters stood silently arm in arm, in front of the White House. Observers around the area were silent as well.

It was a reminder early on that this debate was not just an exciting event, but also would spur a serious conversation about the state of America, and how it we will be led into the future.

Bernard Coles, a senior at Hofstra, said he wasn’t confident the issues important to #BlackLivesMatter supporters would come up at the debate.

“We’ve been talking nonstop about Brangelina for the past week so I’m not very optimistic about it coming up but I hope so,” he said in an interview. He also said he feels Clinton best represents the #BlackLivesMatter cause.

Black Lives Matter protestors make their presence felt at Hofstra University on debate day. Photo by Victoria Espinoza
Black Lives Matter protestors make their presence felt at Hofstra University on debate day. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

“I feel a thousand times more confident in the direction Hillary Clinton would take the country. She’s been trying to listen to us and support us and represent us for decades and I don’t understand why people are forgetting that.”

Although #BlackLivesMatter was not directly referenced Monday night, moderator Lester Holt asked a question entirely focused on race relations. Both candidates talked about solutions they have proposed to help improve the criminal justice system, while also touching on their personal relationships with ethnic communities.

About a half-mile from the center point of campus was the free speech tent, an area heavily guarded by police where supporters of lesser-known presidential candidates Jill Stein (G) and Gary Jonhson (L) protested their exclusion from the event.

Entrance to the free speech tent required passage through a metal detector and a search of belongings. Officers on horseback lined the street, and at the tent, a man dressed in a polar bear costume spoke out on global warming, and an “election frog” croaked “Rig it, rig it.”

Chris Roy, a Stein supporter, said it was a disgrace that she was not allowed into the debate arena.

“I’m thoroughly disgusted and disturbed and furious,” Roy said in an interview. He questioned why two parties are allowed to make the rules for other minor parties, and said Trump and Clinton should be speaking up to allow the other candidates in.

“She [Stein] is the only one that is in the trenches fighting with the people,” he said. “They’re [Clinton and Trump] both just totally corrupt. They don’t speak out for open debates, which is awful. When you turn on the television all you see is Hillary and Trump.”

Stein has been the presidential nominee for the Green Party for the last two debates, and was escorted off the premises Monday after reportedly failing to present the necessary credentials.

Costumes are used to emphasize political talking points. Photo by Victoria Espinoza
Costumes are used to emphasize political talking points. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

Like Stein, Johnson is not new to the presidential campaign circuit. He has been the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate for the last two elections.

Both candidates have been vocal about being denied the opportunity to debate.

Neither reached the 15-percent polling threshold on national surveys needed by the Commission on Presidential Debates to qualify.

Hofstra students throughout campus donned “Make America Great Again” hats and “I’m With Her” pins, and at the end of the night everyone argued over which candidate had the most success.

After leaving the scene of the debate, and walking out of what felt like a bunker, it seemed like all issues discussed during the day had been forgotten and all that mattered was Clinton and Trump’s performances.

Hofstra’s campus gave a voice to more than just the typical election season rhetoric, and helped remind a reporter like me that this election season is about so much more than just the two candidates who stood on the stage for 90 minutes.