By: Lauren Moore
The first presidential debate has come and gone, bringing along with it old conversations and new information- all condensed into an hour and a half television slot. Monday night’s debate, held in Hempstead, New York at Hofstra University and moderated by NBC’s Lester Holt, focused on three main objectives: prosperity, direction, and security. For undecided voters, this debate could have proven crucial to determining their vote. However, as Sneha Sharma (11) explains, “even if [one] can’t vote, [this debate] will affect our futures,” and, therefore, being informed is critical.
Addressing the first issue at hand- jobs and the creation of them- Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate, advocated for minimum wage increase, equal pay, and paid family leave. Donald Trump, the Republican candidate, plans to reduce “taxes tremendously from thirty five percent to fifteen percent for companies, both small and big businesses” in order to ensure jobs remain in the U.S. and are not exported to, for example, Mexico or China. However, Clinton claims that this plan sounds a little too similar to “trickle down economics”- a theory that suggests giving tax breaks to the wealthy in order to create economic growth- which she suggests largely instigated the “Great Recession” of 2008. In contrast to “Trumped-up, trickle down economics,” as Clinton coined, she plans to invest in the middle-class with tax increases for the wealthy and debt free college for students.
This discussion of taxes soon instigated the conversation and controversy of Trump not releasing his own tax returns. To which Trump responded, “I will release my tax returns against my lawyer's wishes when [Clinton] releases her thirty three thousand emails that have been deleted.”
When asked by Holt how they plan to “heal the divide” between the races in this country, Clinton addressed the recent situations in Charlotte and Tulsa and focused on the importance of restoring trust between communities and police by implementing new police training. Trump, on the other hand, claimed to defend “law and order,” as he advocated for stop and frisks: a police practice begun in New York in which officers stop pedestrians and search for weapons. However, Holt reminded him of the fact that the act of stop and frisks was deemed unconstitutional in 2013.
In regard to gun control, both candidates agreed that a person on the no fly list should have no access to guns; however, Hillary promoted more extensive gun control laws, while Trump pledged his allegiance to the NRA and the second amendment.
As the conversation progressed, cyberattacks became a major talking point as Clinton deemed this technological threat “the biggest challenge facing the next President.” In response to the mention of Russia’s alleged hacking, Trump was quick to refute by stating “it could be Russia, but it could also be China” or even just “somebody sitting on their bed who weighs 400 pounds.” With the discussion of ISIS’ use of the internet to further their cause, Trump blamed the way Obama and Clinton left Iraq as the reason “ISIS was formed.” Clinton promoted an intelligence surge to find every scrap of information on this ISIS, an increased use of NATO to fight terrorism, and intensified airstrikes. In defense, Trump spoke about the inefficiency of NATO to fight terrorism and the financial strain it puts on America, seeing as America pays for “approximately seventy-three percent” of it. Both candidates stressed the importance of nuclear weapons and keeping them out of ISIS’s hands.
To close the evening, Holt questioned what Trump’s intentions were in claiming Clinton did not have “a presidential look.” Trump, in response, made it clear that he does not “believe she does have the stamina” needed to be president. He claimed, that despite the fact that “she's been doing this for thirty years,” she failed to “make anything better.” Clinton fired back by saying that, once he has traveled to one hundred twenty two countries, negotiated peace deals, cease fires, and testified for eleven hours in front of a Congressional hearing, then he can accuse her of not having the stamina.
Many sarcastic laughs and “you’re wrong” interruptions later, both candidates ultimately said they would support the outcome of the election, no matter who won. Overall, this was quite the debate to kick off the three part series. Remember to watch the next two debates coming up on October 9th and October 19th!