After the second debate, these 5 voters changed their minds. They told us why.

In the second presidential debate — held less than 48 hours after the release of a bombshell tape where Donald Trump describes sexually assaulting women as well as the release of a new cache of Clinton campaign emails by Wikileaks — the candidates outlined two very different visions of a future America.

Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Trump defended his taped remarks from 2005 as "locker room talk," while calling on Muslim Americans to report suspected terrorists in their communities and vowing to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Clinton's handling of her state department email and throw her in jail. Clinton promised to expand Obamacare to make health care more widely accessible and affordable and establish a no-fly zone in Syria, while deflecting questions about taking different positions in public and private by citing Abraham Lincoln.  


Two polls taken immediately post-debate showed a Clinton victory, while a focus group panel gave the edge to Trump.

We asked Upworthy's social media followers if last night's debate changed their mind. Most said it didn't. Some were convinced to pull the lever for a different candidate — and for several, it was not one of the two on the debate stage.

Here's what they said — who they were voting for, who they're voting for now, and why.

Interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.

Tara Donna, tax office manager, Arizona

Was voting for: Jill Stein

Now voting for: Hillary Clinton

Jill Stein photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images; Hillary Clinton photo by Rick Wilking/AFP/Getty Images.

Why she was holding out for a third party: "I was a die hard Bernie supporter in the 'Never Hillary' group. I was leaning towards Jill Stein until her stunt at the DAPL [Dakota Access Pipeline]. I love that Jill actually wooed the Bernie folks. I feel like Hillary expects us to fall in line because Bernie has asked us to and that upsets me. For the record I'm against the DAPL, but you can't graffiti property. As a presidential candidate there should be a modicum of decency and decorum."

What she thought of Trump's debate performance: "I thought Trump was a disaster. He looked angry and hurt. His response to the leaked tape said it all. The official apology he made, which was clearly written by somebody else, was trampled on. He reverted to 'locker room banter,' which is talking about sexual assault."

How Clinton impressed, and didn't impress, her: "Hillary was poised, but angry at times. I feel she needs to answer for her treatment of Bill's women. Bill's behavior shouldn't be counted against her, but she destroyed those women and needs to answer for it."

What she plans to do now: "I'm voting for Hillary after last night. I'm not happy about it. I'd love to follow Iceland's footsteps, kick out the government and rewrite the Constitution."

Kaden Meeks, college student, West Virginia

Was voting for: Didn't plan to vote

Now voting for: Donald Trump

Photos by Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images.

Who he backed initially: "Trump — mostly because I consider myself a Republican and I agree with a lot of his ideas, even some of the more radical ones. I liked his immigration ideas, I liked that he was straightforward and I liked that he had made questionable decisions in his life to get where he is now. I always have looked at the presidential position as a decision-making job, and I think that Trump would be bold enough to make controversial decisions rather than putting them off as the issues get worse."

How Trump temporarily lost his vote: "I had problems [with] the comments about his daughter. I don't know how any man could agree that his daughter is a 'piece of ass' or refer to her body shape as beautiful or give other men information on his daughter's breasts. I think that just shows how truly narcissistic and gross he really is. Any human with kids generally loves, protects them and is proud of their offspring, but Donald Trump seems to use his daughter as a credential. Her physical appearance is used as a weapon, and to me, that is just too far."

How the debate, and its aftermath, convinced him to come back around: "I actually watched a video of him apologizing for what he had said, and then I saw another video of a room full of independent voters, and the vast majority said that Trump had gained their vote. This was shocking to me considering it hadn't happened so far, and even CNN said he had 'exceeded expectations,' so I just knew he was starting to get a feel for what he was doing and maturing as a politician."

"Like I said, I always have liked his ideas, his demeanor is the issue, and through watching those things, I realize he was capable of having a suitable demeanor."

Patricia Billingsley, retired state employee, Oklahoma

Was voting for: Undecided

Now voting for: Gary Johnson

Donald Trump photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images; Gary Johnson photo by Molly Riley/AFP/Getty Images.

Her feelings about Clinton, in four words: "Most knowledgeable, least ethical."

Her feelings about Trump, in three words: "Narcissistic, erratic, lazy."

What she thought of Trump last night: "Aggressive. Defends own sleaze by pointing out others' bad behavior."

What she thought of Clinton last night: "Ignores questions/statements she does not want to hear, repeats talking points."

What she'd like to see in the third debate: "Wish Johnson [was] in debates to compare in person, not just on what I read and hear."

Jessica Medina, web designer, Florida

Was voting for: Hillary Clinton

Now voting for: Undecided

Hillary Clinton photo by Tasos Katopodis/AFP/Getty Images; Gary Johnson photo by Bill McCay/SiriusXM.

How she planned to vote before last night: "I've never liked either choice, but Clinton is certainly the lesser of two evils in my eyes. After the last debate I was left thinking 'oh okay, I can do this...' This one kind of turned it back and made me feel uneasy again."

Why she felt this debate was different: "The moderators certainly appeared biased in my opinion. It's no secret that Anderson Cooper hates Trump's guts, but I felt like they were certainly professional. And I agreed with everything they called him out on — I truly appreciated the fact that they didn't let him get way with his diversion tactics.  But it set up Hillary for an advantage, which automatically had me raising an eyebrow."

What about Clinton's performance turned her off: "She had so much prepared for this debate, and that preparedness left me feeling a disconnect. I'm sure she has a sincerity about her in person — everyone says that her strength is listening and making people feel heard — but in this particular format, I don't think it translated well across the TV to the viewers at home."

How she plans to vote now: "It will depend on how she performs in the next debate, and I'll be doing a lot more research to see if a vote for Johnson is really just throwing a vote away (or, God forbid, dividing the vote and letting Trump take it). For Trump, nothing could ever convince me to vote for him."

How Clinton could win her back: "I would like to see more authenticity. We know she's smarter and more experienced than Trump. We know she's prepared to counter his arguments. So I would like to see her just have a conversation instead of spewing rhetoric that she has decided upon beforehand. I would like to be able to trust her."

Denise Smith, former museum programs manager, Virginia

Was voting for: Write-in vote

Now voting for: Hillary Clinton

Bernie Sanders photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images; Hillary Clinton photo by Tasos Katopodis/AFP/Getty Images.

How she's voted in the past: "My first vote was for Jimmy Carter. But I also voted for Ronald Reagan and Daddy Bush … once. I was a Reagan Democrat, I voted for him the first time because he spoke of a flat tax to cover everyone. We went bankrupt during his presidency, and I would not piss on him if he was on fire after that! Daddy Bush spoke about fair trade and jobs on a global market and I voted for that. Got fooled again."

"I actually voted for Ross Perot against Bill Clinton — get this — because my husband fussed at me and said he didn’t want my vote canceling his out. I was stupid in love and never did it again."

Why she was uncommitted: "I was a Bernie supporter to begin with. I was truly disgusted by what happened that knocked him out of the race. I think he had a better chance than Hillary at winning this election, because after 30 years of dirt about her, the rumors, [and] the scandals, I was skeptical of her in office. Plus, though he endorses her now, Bernie ran a good campaign against her."

What convinced her to come off the fence: "I was seriously considering just throwing my vote away. I can’t endorse Johnson or Stein after looking at their platforms. I was thinking of writing in Bernie’s name or, hell, even Lindsey Graham for president but after this week’s tape on his 'locker room' talk and then Hillary Clinton's performance tonight, I’m solidly for Clinton."

Why she could never, ever vote for Trump: "Trump scares me — the thought of him as president. After tonight I know I can’t throw my vote away. Hillary tonight showed me a much better candidate for president. Trump needs a civics lesson on how Congress works. [He] blamed her too much for things no one person can control and if he thinks senators and presidents have that much power, he’s nuts. He’s going to prosecute her above our judicial system? That’s dictator talk."

Deadlines to register to vote in most states are closing fast! Many have already passed, some are coming up in the next few days. If you still haven't put your name on the rolls, this tool can help you get there. And if you have registered, here's how you can find your polling place.  

Courtesy of Amita Swadhin
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In 2016, Amita Swadhin, a child of two immigrant parents from India, founded Mirror Memoirs to help combat rape culture. The national storytelling and organizing project is dedicated to sharing the stories of LGBTQIA+ Black, indigenous people, and people of color who survived child sexual abuse.

"Whether or not you are a survivor, 100% of us are raised in rape culture. It's the water that we're swimming in. But just as fish don't know they are in water, because it's just the world around them that they've always been in, people (and especially those who aren't survivors) may need some help actually seeing it," they add.

"Mirror Memoirs attempts to be the dye that helps everyone understand the reality of rape culture."

Amita built the idea for Mirror Memoirs from a theater project called "Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors" that featured their story and those of four other survivors in New York City, as well as a documentary film and educational toolkit based on the project.

"Secret Survivors had a cast that was gender, race, and age-diverse in many ways, but we had neglected to include transgender women," Amita explains. "Our goal was to help all people who want to co-create a world without child sexual abuse understand that the systems historically meant to help survivors find 'healing' and 'justice' — namely the child welfare system, policing, and prisons — are actually systems that facilitate the rape of children in oppressed communities," Amita continues. "We all have to explore tools of healing and accountability outside of these systems if we truly want to end all forms of sexual violence and rape culture."

Amita also wants Mirror Memoirs to be a place of healing for survivors that have historically been ignored or underserved by anti-violence organizations due to transphobia, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy.

Amita Swadhin

"Hearing survivors' stories is absolutely healing for other survivors, since child sexual abuse is a global pandemic that few people know how to talk about, let alone treat and prevent."

"Since sexual violence is an isolating event, girded by shame and stigma, understanding that you're not alone and connecting with other survivors is alchemy, transmuting isolation into intimacy and connection."

This is something that Amita knows and understands well as a survivor herself.

"My childhood included a lot of violence from my father, including rape and other forms of domestic violence," says Amita. "Mandated reporting was imposed on me when I was 13 and it was largely unhelpful since the prosecutors threatened to incarcerate my mother for 'being complicit' in the violence I experienced, even though she was also abused by my father for years."

What helped them during this time was having the support of others.

"I'm grateful to have had a loving younger sister and a few really close friends, some of whom were also surviving child sexual abuse, though we didn't know how to talk about it at the time," Amita says.

"I'm also a queer, non-binary femme person living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and those identities have shaped a lot of my life experiences," they continue. "I'm really lucky to have an incredible partner and network of friends and family who love me."

"These realizations put me on the path of my life's work to end this violence quite early in life," they said.

Amita wants Mirror Memoirs to help build awareness of just how pervasive rape culture is. "One in four girls and one in six boys will be raped or sexually assaulted by the age of 18," Amita explains, "and the rates are even higher for vulnerable populations, such as gender non-conforming, disabled, deaf, unhoused, and institutionalized children." By sharing their stories, they're hoping to create change.

"Listening to stories is also a powerful way to build empathy, due to the mirror neurons in people's brains. This is, in part, why the project is called Mirror Memoirs."

So far, Mirror Memoirs has created an audio archive of BIPOC LGBTQI+ child sexual abuse survivors sharing their stories of survival and resilience that includes stories from 60 survivors across 50 states. This year, they plan to record another 15 stories, specifically of transgender and nonbinary people who survived child sexual abuse in a sport-related setting, with their partner organization, Athlete Ally.

"This endeavor is in response to the more than 100 bills that have been proposed across at least 36 states in 2021 seeking to limit the rights of transgender and non-binary children to play sports and to receive gender-affirming medical care with the support of their parents and doctors," Amita says.

In 2017, Mirror Memoirs held its first gathering, which was attended by 31 people. Today, the organization is a fiscally sponsored, national nonprofit with two staff members, a board of 10 people, a leadership council of seven people, and 500 members nationally.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, they created a mutual aid fund for the LGBTQIA+ community of color and were able to raise a quarter-million dollars. They received 2,509 applications for assistance, and in the end, they decided to split the money evenly between each applicant.

While they're still using storytelling as the building block of their work, they're also engaging in policy and advocacy work, leadership development, and hosting monthly member meetings online.

For their work, Amita is one of Tory's Burch's Empowered Women. Their donation will go to Mirror Memoirs to help fund production costs for their new theater project, "Transmutation: A Ceremony," featuring four Black transgender, intersex, and non-binary women and femmes who live in California.

"I'm grateful to every single child sexual survivor who has ever disclosed their truth to me," Amita says. "I know another world is possible, and I know survivors will build it, together with all the people who love us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Wil Wheaton speaking to an audience at 2019 Wondercon.

In an era of debates over cancel culture and increased accountability for people with horrendous views and behaviors, the question of art vs. artist is a tricky one. When you find out an actor whose work you enjoy is blatantly racist and anti-semitic in real life, does that realization ruin every movie they've been a part of? What about an author who has expressed harmful opinions about a marginalized group? What about a smart, witty comedian who turns out to be a serial sexual assaulter? Where do you draw the line between a creator and their creation?

As someone with his feet in both worlds, actor Wil Wheaton weighed in on that question and offered a refreshingly reasonable perspective.

A reader who goes by @avinlander asked Wheaton on Tumblr:

"Question: I have more of an opinion question for you. When fans of things hear about misconduct happening on sets/behind-the-scenes are they allowed to still enjoy the thing? Or should it be boycotted completely? Example: I've been a major fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer since I was a teenager and it was currently airing. I really nerded out on it and when I lost my Dad at age 16 'The Body' episode had me in such cathartic tears. Now we know about Joss Whedon. I haven't rewatched a single episode since his behavior came to light. As a fan, do I respectfully have to just box that away? Is it disrespectful of the actors that went through it to knowingly keep watching?"

And Wheaton offered this response, which he shared on Facebook:

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Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Chris Evans is playing the lead role in the upcoming Pixar film "Lightyear."

Chris Evans was already skilled at squeezing hearts on social media, cavalierly sharing sweet pics of his adorable dog and piano-playing videos on Instagram, as if we could just casually watch him be a near-perfect man without swooning. And now he's being even more delightful with his gushing giddiness over getting to play his dream role.

The guy is already best known as the studly Marvel superhero Captain America, so what could possibly top that? Pixar, apparently. Evans' ultimate acting dream is being in a Pixar movie. And now that dream is coming true, the most eligible of the Chrises could not be cuter in his expressions of joy.

Sharing the new trailer for "Lightyear"—Pixar's origin story about the astronaut the Buzz Lightyear toy was based on in the "Toy Story" universe—Evans wrote on Twitter:

"I'm covered in goosebumps. And will be every time I watch this trailer. Or hear a Bowie song. Or have any thought whatsoever between now and July cause nothing has ever made me feel more joy and gratitude than knowing I'm a part of this and it's basically always on my mind."

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The Schmidt family's Halloween photoshoot has become an annual tradition.

Two of Patti Schmidt's three sons were already well into adulthood when her daughter Avery was born, and the third wasn't far behind them. Avery, now 5, has never had the pleasure of close-in-age sibling squabbles or gigglefests, since Larry, Patrick and Gavin are 28, 26 and 22, respectively—but that doesn't mean they don't bond as a family.

According to People.com, Patti calls her sons home to Point Pleasant, New Jersey, every fall for a special Halloween photoshoot with Avery. And the results are nothing short of epic.

The Schmidt family started the tradition in 2017 with the boys dressing as the tinman, the scarecrow and the cowardly lion from "The Wizard of Oz." Avery, just a toddler at the time, was dressed as Dorothy, complete with adorable little ruby slippers.

The following year, the boys were Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Chewbacca, and Avery was (of course) Princess Leia.

In 2019, they did a "Game of Thrones" theme. ("My husband and I were binge-watching [Game of Thrones], and I thought the boys as dragons would be so funny," Schmidt told TODAY.)

In 2020, they went as Princess Buttercup, Westley, Inigo Montoya and Fezzik from "The Princess Bride."

Patti shared a video montage of each year's costume shoot—with accompanying soundtracks—on Instagram and TikTok. Watch:

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