“The Gold Standard” of Presidential Debates

By: Neil Burger – Staff Writer

Monday night’s debate at Hofstra University was highly anticipated for months, with estimated viewership of 84 million, putting it over the previously most watched debate between Carter and Reagan in 1980.

Moderated by “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt, the debate featured six segments 15 minutes in length each. Both candidates started off strong when discussing how to achieve prosperity for the country. Clinton accused Trump for being a proponent of trickle-down economics and making taxes cuts that would favor him.

Trump fired back by tying Clinton to controversial trade deals, like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the Trans Pacific Partnership, which she called “The gold standard”.

Hillary brought up Trump not releasing his tax forms and insinuating that he may not be as rich as he says he is. This upset Trump and he responded by saying he will release them after an audit and once Hillary releases her emails. This was the only time the emails were brought up. Clinton took a moment to apologize for mishandling classified information through her private email serve saying they were a mistake

The debate moved on to the topic of race. Clinton and Trump found common ground that communities and police need improved relations, and guns need to be taken away from “bad people”. The section was largely dominated by the two of them debating the ethics and effectiveness of stop and frisk laws, with Trump heavily in favor of them and Hillary starkly opposed. This segment targeted Trump by hammering him with questions regarding Obama’s birth certificate and lawsuits, accusing Trump of racial discrimination early in his career.

Trump did his best to deflect the questioning by claiming his emphasis on the birther controversy which resulted in President Obama releasing his birth certificate and the lawsuit brought against him was settled without admission of guilt.

The concluding segments revolved around securing America. Cyber security was the first talking point; with both candidates agreeing on its importance to the U.S. Trump took advantage of this moment to mention the Democratic National Convention (DNC) hack. This hack refers to how DNC Chairwomen and Florida Congresswomen Debbie Wasserman Schultz, along with others rigged the democratic primaries against Bernie Sanders to favor Clinton. This jab by Trump was quickly overshadowed by his ramblings about “the cyber” and bringing up his ten year-old son’s proficiency with computers.

The conversation shifted to conflict in the Middle East. Both candidates ended up pointing fingers at each other for supposedly being in favor of the war in Iraq. After going on about the need for people to call Sean Hannity to confirm Trump’s opposition to the Iraq war, Trump began to criticize Hillary on creating a vacuum for ISIS in the Middle East and being soft on Iran.

Hillary denied this accusation by claiming she aided in sanctioning Iran and deterring their nuclear program, and claiming consistent opposition to ISIS. Before concluding the segment, they both went on tangents in regards to temperament, stamina, and Rosie O’Donnell. Holt wrapped up their discussion and shifted towards concluding statements, where Hillary talked about supporting democracy and the voters. Trump closed with his campaign slogan of how Make America great again.

Post-debate news conversation, seemed largely in favor that Hillary had won the debate. Republicans claimed questions were unfairly directed at Trump; with him receiving thirteen direct questions to Clinton’s eight. The vice presidential debate between Tim Kaine and Mike Pence will be on October 4. The next presidential debate will be held on October 9 in St. Louis.

Photo Courtesy of Jonathan Heisler

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