NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Many voters spent Wednesday evening together to get their final sense of why the candidates for President should get their vote. At one watch party, Democrats and Republicans tried to show that, unlike many politicians, they can get along.
“I have a lot of friends that are supporting Bernie, that are conservative Republican. I even have some friends that are supporting Gary Johnson,” Drew Pritt said. “So I wanted to make sure that we all remember that, when this election is over we come back together as Americans and we come back together as Arkansans.”
Pritt hosted a party at Fox and Hound in North Little Rock. He said he is a regular there and won a catered party, so he chose to use his prize to watch the debate. Pritt, who ran for Lt. Governor of Arkansas in 2008, is a Democrat, but wanted a politically-mixed group of people with him. He said the tone of the presidential campaign has bothered him
“I think the sadness of this campaign,” he mentioned, “and it’s been shown on both sides, is the fact that discrimination is still very much with us.”
A lot of people say they have not seen anything like this campaign, for the amount of anger it has brought out of America, with red and blue fighting until they are black and blue. Pritt says the animosity is partly due to the fact that a woman is a major party nominee for the first time, and that rising income inequality makes many people question the direction of our country. But he also thinks the political tension should not take us by surprise.
“It’s the fact that, every eight years, you’re going to see this titanic struggle between the two parties to see who’s going to be the new dominant party,” he explained.
Rebecca Wine, who attended the watch party, said the discussion during the first two debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump did little to help America because they mainly featured personal attacks, rather than discussions of issues. “Health care. You know, college tuitions,” Wine mentioned. “We want to know what’s happening in the Middle East. What’s gonna happen in Syria?”
Attendance at the party was lower than Pritt hoped as the debate began and Clinton and Trump argued their cases on topics such as immigration, ISIS, the Supreme Court, and the economy. But Pritt hoped that having events like this could remind people, no matter how many, the way to coexist once the election is over.
“Even if people are watching at home,” he said, “let’s remember things like the tornado in Vilonia. Let’s remember when we had the sadness of the shooting in Jonesboro. Let’s remember that we’re Arkansans, that we’re Americans, and more so, we’re humans, first and foremost.
“I don’t care who you vote for,” he stated, “just go out and vote.”