The No Name Bar only has one TV, and the Republican debate wasn’t on it.
Debate fever, it seems, didn’t extend much beyond the campus watch parties. Like several bars on CU’s University Hill, the No Name put the World Series on, instead.
Still, the students there Wednesday evening insisted they’re far from apathetic.
“If it was on, I’d definitely be watching it,” said senior Holly Estrow. “We’ll probably watch some of it later, online.”
Her friend, senior Carley Crotta, wanted to watch the debate live. “I definitely would have been interested in getting a ticket and going,” she said. “But I didn’t even have an opportunity.”
Labeling herself “not a political person,” Estrow said she still cares about the debate. Though she identifies more with the Democratic Party, she said, “I’m definitely interested to see the discussions of what’s going on.”
So why not pick another bar?
“I wanted beer and pizza.”
Mike Grasso, another CU student at No Name, brought up another excuse for not watching.
“It’s pretty much midterms week,” he said. “School is really crazy right now, and it’s hard to get a free minute or two unless you’re grabbing some food or taking a quick break.”
The Sink, another bar on the Hill, had a similar story. About a dozen TV sets broadcast the World Series, but only one in the corner aired the GOP debate that was taking place live just around the corner. Nobody was watching.
CU student Max Wiesner said his disinterest in hearing out the candidates doesn’t mean wasn’t jazzed about the event as a whole. “I think it’s pretty cool. I mean, it kind of brings a whole different group of people to campus,” he said.
Midterms week got the best of Wiesner, too. He didn’t go to any of the debate-centric events on campus, but he said he’d watch it if it were on.
Will he watch footage online when he gets home?
“I think I will, yeah,” he said.
Illegal Pete’s had the debate on two of its five screens. William Kort and Nicole Nedoss sought out the restaurant specifically to watch.
Both agreed that they likely wouldn’t have watched the debate if CU didn’t host it. For Kort, the drama and unrest associated with the event was prime motivation to check it out.
“I’m here because a lot of us didn’t get to attend it,” he said. “I don’t know why that is, but it’s still available for us on TV. So I’m watching it so I can be a part of the political process.”
The pair chose Illegal Pete’s to avoid the crowds at the main campus watch party.
“It’s probably really crowded, and I bet there’s a lot of heckling,” Kort said of the gathering at CU’s University Memorial Center. “Here, there’s captions. It’s kind of relaxed in a bar setting.”
Nedoss said she was surprised at some of the opinions she heard. “I’m definitely open to understanding both sides, and recognizing certain Republicans who hold some sort of Democratic values. I’ve been seeing that throughout the debate.”
But Kort was skeptical. “It’s not really a true Republican debate, if you ask me,” he said. “They realize where they’re speaking. I don’t think they’re being completely honest. They’re sort of trying to beat around the bush so they can appeal to the Democratic crowd.”
Kort knew tickets for the debate were hard to come by, but was fuzzy on the details. “I heard there were just so many hoops you had to jump through to even attend it,” he said.
Nedoss set him straight: “No, like, you couldn’t attend it,” she said.
To that, Kort echoed the sentiments of many students on campus, albeit a little late.
“Wow,” he said. ” That’s just, to me, appalling.”
Photo credit: StorMz, Creative Commons, Flickr.