A first-time Gen Z voter is still ready to vote, even after Tuesday’s chaotic presidential debate.
Ellie Eldridge, along with 10 million other Americans, watched the debate between President Donald J. Trump, Jr. and former Vice-President Joe Biden on September 29. According to Pew Research Center, young adults born after 1996 wield 10% of the eligible voting power coming to their first election and some, like Eldridge, might approach November 3 with mixed feelings after the debate.
“It didn’t feel like a formal debate to me. It was so chaotic,” said Eldridge, a biomedical sciences major at Morehead State. “It actually stressed me out and I could feel it in my body. It was like finals week.”
Eldridge watched the debate hoping to learn more about both candidates. Although she didn’t have high expectations, she was disappointed in how the event unfolded.
“Two men having to yell over each other as the moderator tries to keep it contained but can’t do anything about it,” said Eldridge. “I was very scared that that was what it had come to.”
Before the debate Eldridge was prepared to “settle” for Biden. However, she felt comforted and informed by his performance.
“Trump’s whole thing was focused around attacking Biden, but when Biden spoke, he looked at the camera and he talked to the Americans,” said Eldridge.
Eldridge, a Letcher County resident, has struggled being a democrat in a small conservative town.
“It can be a scary place sometimes. We had a Black Lives Matter parade in June, and someone went across town and hung nooses,” she said.
However, going to college has only reinforced her beliefs and watching the debate left her ready to vote this November.
“I hope that other people saw what I saw between the two candidates, and I’ve heard a lot of people have started changing their opinions.”