College Democrats host State of Union watch party
Jacob Waring—Opinions & Features Editor
President Trump’s distinctive voice echoed throughout Engleman A120 as members of the College Democrats and others watched with intense focus.
Those in attendance focused because, according to many, they care about the content of the president’s State of the Union address. The intensity of their focus also was due to playing a form of bingo where they must mark down specific phrases or words that President Trump would say during his address.
Phrases such as “fake news”, “disaster”, “make america great again”, “witch hunt”, “national emergency” and many more such phrases. Despite many opportunities during the one hour and 22-minute address, no one got a bingo.
Ryan Plourde, social media coordinator for the College Democrats said that having watch parties have become a semi-regular event.
“It’s almost like a tradition for us. We for the last few years been doing these watch parties for State of Union, primary debates. When the governor debates were happening, we had a watch party for them,” said Plourde.
Students in attendance had been following annotated, live transcripts from the New York Times and Politico to follow along and have the president’s factoids and claims checked. Justin Gendron, president of College Democrats said he felt President Trump’s speech was lacking factually.
“The New York Times have been fact checking [State of Union] all night but my impression was that he gave very broad claims without basis of fact,” said Gendron.
Gendron said he wished the president would cite where he got his information from rather than just spewing information without indicating where he got such facts.
The topics President Trump spoke included the border wall, Venezuela, tariffs, Trade-NAFTA, and the economy.
Plourde was in disagreement of the President’s policy of how Venezuela should be handled.
“I disagree with a lot of [Trump’s] policies and everything. I don’t like— whether or not you like Maduro [Venezuela’s president], forcing change isn’t good in any capacity and it’s a much more complex situation, it’s just much more complex,” he said.
Nick Carbone, vice president of College Democrat however thought President Trump’s address was full of lies and very broad. He did find some positives out of the address too.
“I thought his rhetoric on trade was good. I don’t think he’ll deliver, he notoriously not delivered. I think his push for family leave was excellent and I applaud him,” said Carbone. “Again, I doubt his ability to push that through and I doubt the senate republicans will even think to allow that.”
Sarah O’Conner, president of the College Republicans planned on attending the watch party but had a conflict with work. She did, however, end up watching the State of Union later on.
O’Conner said she thought it was a fine, generic theme of unity. She was surprised at his approval rating after the address as she noted it was higher than she expected.
She said when Trump mentioned Syria in the speech, she felt that his decision to pull out was not smart at all. She said she knew his intention was to imply that it was a great decision for America, but internally she knew it was not.
“I was very against him pulling out of Syria. I took [a] terrorism class here and I learned a lot about terrorist groups. I know ISIS isn’t finished and would just reform into another group,” she said.
Everyone at the watch party also watched as Stacey Abrams, former Georgia gubernatorial candidate, delivered the Democratic response to the State of Union. Some students in attendance knew both speeches written ahead of time and were basically a script to follow. People opinions, those who commented on both speeches, tended to fall on their respective political ideology.
“Obviously both were very scripted, writing their speeches ahead of time,” said Plourde. “How I am politically, I enjoyed Stacy Abrems more than Trump.”