WESTWOOD (CBSLA.com) — Many voters had their first opportunity on Tuesday to get a clear look at the 2016 presidential candidates from the Democratic Party.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee and former Sen. Jim Webb took to the stage Tuesday night in Las Vegas in the first Democratic Party debate of the presidential race.
In Westwood, hundreds of UCLA students gathered to watch the debate in a viewing event put on by the groups Bruin Democrats and Bruins For Bernie.
One of the groups’ founders, graduate student Brian Carolus, says Sanders’ stance on free college tuition resonates with him.
“It’s so important that anybody should be able to access higher education in order to get those jobs of the future,” Carolus said.
Others at the event, however, describe Sanders’ views as unrealistic.
“The U.S. isn’t ready for someone as radical as Bernie to be president yet,” student Amy Iwasaki said.
Clinton, meanwhile, earned a strong following at the near-standing-room only event.
“She herself is of a group that has been historically under-represented and/or marginalized in this nation,” Clinton supporter Jay Monzano said.
Regardless of the various candidates being supported throughout the group, students say they’re simply proud of how many people came to watch the debate.
“I think there’s this image of us being not engaged with what is happening politically, so I think it’s really, really amazing to see such a big turnout,” Clinton supporter Chloe Pan said.
The groups expect to hold more viewing parties for future debates.