Second Presidential Debate: Come out Swinging

Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton appear together during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri (Photo: cbsnews.com)
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton appear together during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri (Photo and Caption: cbsnews.com)

WRITTEN BY: RYAN GOODWIN

The battle of two major egos hit the main stage again tonight as Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz moderated the second presidential debate at Wasington University in St Louis, Missouri. This debate became even more highly anticipated after a recording of Donald Trump making vulgar sexual comments was released this past Friday.

As the candidates came out, there was a clear tension between them. Unlike the first debate, Trump and Hillary Clinton did not shake hands.

With this being a “town hall” style debate, members of the select audience were allowed to directly ask the candidates questions. The first question asked was, “Do you feel you’re modeling appropriate behavior for today’s youth?” Both candidates seemed to dodge the question by only stating that they are fed up with today’s world, and want to see a change.

Immediately, Cooper brought up Trump’s lewd statements made in 2005. Trump tried to avoid the question by changing the subject to how he will destroy ISIS and bring wealth back to the country. In Clinton’s rebuttal, she claimed that Trump is unfit to be president, and that his true colors were shown this past Friday, when the recording of his “locker room talk” was released. “This is who Donald Trump IS!” Clinton exclaimed.

As this topic continued through questions from Facebook, Trump kept stating that what he said was “just words.” He projected the subject onto Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, who was accused of sexual misconduct while in office.

The two continued to sling mud, pointing fingers and focusing on past personal issues. As usual, Trump raised the subject of Clinton’s private email server. He promised that if he becomes president, he would appoint his attorney general to “look into your [Clinton’s] situation.”

Finally, getting back to what is important – the people’s questions – an audience member posed asked, “What will you do to bring down the cost of health care?” Clinton took the lead by stating that she wants to keep certain portions of the Affordable Care Act, such as allowing anyone under the age of 26 to be covered under their parents’ insurance. On the other hand, Clinton plans on cutting costs that have increased, including co-pays, rates, and deductibles. Clinton feels that repealing the whole act will do nothing but harm those who have benefitted from it. Trump, however, exclaims that its application as the nation’s health insurance program is the biggest disgrace to come out of Washington D.C.

“Islamophobia” was the next topic of discussion. An audience member asked, “How can you ensure that I will not be labeled a radical?” Rather than addressing his past comments against Muslims, Trump said that Muslims should make it known when they feel they are being discriminated against. Clinton stood strong on her platform that all people should feel welcome in the United States.

When it came to the refugee crisis, Trump made it clear that he does not believe it is worth the risk of bringing more Middle Eastern natives into this country. He says that, until America figures out its own nation’s problems, we shouldn’t be adding to the possibility of violence.

Clinton alluded to a small Syrian boy who was injured in the Russian and Syrian air strikes. Her intention was to show that it is our duty to provide safety to innocent refugees living in danger overseas.

For the first time in the debate, Clinton got heated over a topic: taxing the wealthy. She spoke adamantly of making everyone pay his or her equal share. Looking into the eyes of the audience, Clinton promised that no executive or corporation would get away with the injustice of not paying their fair share.

An intriguing point in the debate came about during when Cooper asked Trump if he avoided paying taxes by hiding behind his $916 million loss in profits. Trump said that he used loopholes to avoid paying taxes. He also claimed that all of Clinton’s campaign supporters who have financially backed her have done the same. With this statement, Trump implied that using loopholes is commonplace among the wealthy.

Questions concerning the humanitarian issue in Syria and the disunion within America were grazed over. Neither candidate seemed to give any valuable solutions to these problems. Each candidate used these topics just as time slots to point more fingers, telling the viewers the other candidate’s flaws.

The only topic I felt had real substance behind it was the topic of energy. While Trump blamed the EPA for not allowing companies to prosper, both candidates felt that we need to be self-efficient when it comes to energy, and that our reliance on the Middle East is something that needs to come to an immediate end.

The third and final presidential debate will take place on Wednesday, October 19, at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

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