A Debate for the Ages

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton squared off in the first presidential debate on September 26, 2016 (Photo: Ryan Goodwin)
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton squared off in the first presidential debate on September 26, 2016 (Photo: Ryan Goodwin)


“This is the biggest electronic event in history,” the NBC anchors say before the two candidates take the stage. This truly is one of the most historic events of the century.

As the candidates walk onstage, the microphone picks up the greeting between the candidates. “Hello, Donald!” “Hello, Hillary!” In just four words, the tension was immediately palpable.

Clinton took the lead with the first answer after being asked how she would bring more money to Americans’ pockets. She decided to take the domestic side of this question, saying that she will raise the minimum wage and make sure that women receive equal pay to men. Trump, on the other hand, took a different approach, thinking internationally. “We have to stop letting jobs being stolen from us,” Trump exclaimed, as he took his stance on bringing money back to the average American. Trump believes the main issue is outsourcing. He suggested bringing American companies back by re-negotiating trade deals and increasing the tax on imports.

The topic of clean energy also came into play during the first segment, resulting in the first head butt between the debaters. Clinton feels as though we can bring jobs back to the country by re-creating our electrical grid, while Trump criticizes her record, claiming that after 30 years she has done nothing to put this plan into action.

The second question was spun off a previous question, as moderator Lester Holt asked how they would utilize the wealthy to bring jobs back to the United States. Trump feels as though major corporations, as well as the executives of major companies, are leaving the United States due to enormous tax rates. Clinton, on the other hand, revealed her plans by condemning Trump’s trickle down system. She believes that investing in the middle class is the key to get boosting the economy.

It came as no surprise when Holt brought up Trump’s tax returns. Trump responded confidently, exclaiming that he will release them as soon as his routine audit concludes. He also says that he would go against his lawyer’s advice and give his tax returns out early. That is, only if Clinton were to release her 33,000 deleted emails. Responding to this statement, Clinton admits that using a private e-mail was “…a mistake. And it is a mistake I take responsibility for.” She commented on Trump’s tax returns by saying he is hiding answers from the American people.

“Maybe he isn’t as rich as America thinks he is,” Clinton said.

Question three is devoted to race. The candidates were asked how they would bridge the gap between the racial divide. Clinton took the lead on this one, saying she has laid out a plan for law enforcement reform. She also believes that the main thing to blame for the growing divide is the fact that gun reform is in the hands of the wrong people. Drawing the community together remained at the forefront of Clinton’s stance.

Trump started by saying that law and order must be brought back to the country.

“We need to protect our inner cities,” Trump said. He believes that they are being decimated by crime.

Holt then pointed a finger at Trump, calling him out for racial profiling; particularly, stating that African Americans and Hispanics are primarily to blame for violence in America. Clinton supported Holt’s claim by saying that Trump paints a horrible picture of the black community. Trump responded by stating that Clinton also racially profiles African Americans, accusing her of calling the black youth a “Super Predator.”

Trump also advocated for stop and frisk. Clinton fired back, countering that it is unconstitutional.

The race debate continued with Clinton bringing light to the fact that Trump was brought up on racial charges by the Justice Department twice in his life, highlighting his so-called “hatred” for race. Trump then attempted to clear the air by saying he was able to settle the suit with no admission of guilt.

“Who is behind it, and how do we fight it?” Holt asked, as he started the fourth segment on how we could prevent classified information from being stolen through cyberspace.

Both candidates agreed that while we should be the best in the world at creating defense systems, we somehow are not. Soon after the question was asked, Clinton hinted at her distrust of Russia for possibly hacking the Democratic National Convention. Trump quickly disagreed, pondering that, “…it could have been a 400-pound person laying on their bed.”

It is refreshing to see both candidates agreeing that ISIS needs to be taken out as soon as humanly possible. Trump, however, blamed Clinton for the growth of ISIS. He says that when she took the office of Secretary of State, ISIS was just a small organization. Today, it can be found in 30 countries.

Following this accusation, Holt called out Trump for claiming that he did not support the Iraq War, where records show that he was in favor. Trump immediately went on the defensive, citing his interviews from the early 2000s.

In my opinion, the end of the debate was filled with monotony, with neither candidate outlining any real solutions. It’s highly unlikely that many voters were swayed after listening to this opening debate. We look forward to the vice presidential debate, which will be held on Tuesday, October 4, as well as the next presidential debate on Sunday, October 9.


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