The Second Presidential Debate 2016

Sunday, October 30th, 2016
2nd debate
Merely hours after Donald Trump’s leaked video with Billy Bush from 2005 shocked the nation, Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Donald Trump (R-NY) faced off again at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. Their battleground was the second debate of the 2016 general election, which was moderated by CNN’s Anderson Cooper and ABC’s Martha Raddatz. The debate took place in a Town Hall style with questions coming from the moderators, audience of undecided voters, and from various internet platforms.

Throughout the debate, the most common topics were Trump’s video and each candidate’s treatment of the vast diversity of American citizens. Mr. Trump, when asked about the way he thinks of women, stated that he had great respect for women and his remarks’ were just “locker room talk”; The video did not at all represent the way he treats women and when asked by Cooper if he had ever sexually assaulted women, said that he had never assaulted or kissed women without their consent. Yet the words “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful - I just start kissing them… I don’t even wait,” is contradictory. Mr. Trump also changed the dialogue by comparing his actions to the actions of ISIS in terms of consequence.

Secretary Clinton stated that “[the video] represents him exactly”. She highlighted how Trump has treated and how he has spoken about women in his rallies, including rating women from one to ten and comparing them. She also spoke about how Trump has targeted immigrants, minorities, and people suffering with mental health disorders.

The moderators then asked Mr. Trump if the campaign had changed him, specifically in terms of the Billy Bush video, and if the man who said demeaning things about women was the same man running for President. Mr. Trump used this question to pivot the conversation towards Bill Clinton’s infidelity while in the White House and Sec. Clinton’s attacks on those same women. Mr. Trump brought several of the women who accused Bill Clinton of sexual abuse to the debate and held a press conference with them to speak to how Sec. Clinton acted towards them. In reference to these allegations, Mr. Trump stated, “She should be ashamed of herself, if you want me to be honest.” This received rowdy applause. Then, he brought up Sec. Clinton’s email scandal saying that he would get a special prosecutor to look into Clinton’s case.

Sec. Clinton responded to these allegations without formally denying them, but by using a quote from FLOTUS Michelle Obama, “When they go low, we go high.” The conversation pivoted to Mr. Trump’s behavior towards people who he has ridiculed: the Kahn Family, the Birther Conspiracy, etc. She also mentioned that he had not apologized to any of these people. Trump fought back against these allegations by outrageously claiming that the Clinton’s started the Birther Conspiracy. Clinton interrupted Trump and said that it was a good thing that “someone with your temperament is not in charge...” to which Mr. Trump responded with “Because you’d be in jail” which received applause.

The two candidates continued to debate the email scandal for a few minutes before the moderators forced them to move onto another question from the audience, which dealt with our country’s healthcare system, specifically the affordability of the Affordable Care Act. The candidates then discussed safety for Muslim-Americans and breaking down islamophobic and xenophobic stereotypes. Mr. Trump started off by stating that if Muslim’s see something dangerous occurring, they should report it themselves. Sec. Clinton attacked Mr. Trump for the “dark, divisive” things he has said about Muslims.

The two candidates then began to discuss the situation in Syria. They discussed research into war crimes committed by both the United States and Russia; both agreed that the situation in Syria was horrifying. The final question asked the candidates to say one good thing about the other. Sec. Clinton responded that Mr. Trump’s children were good people and that was a positive attribute to his character. Mr. Trump responded that Hillary was a ‘fighter’.

Overall, the Town Hall style debate was odd. This time would have been better spent laying out their plans and proving why they should be elected President of the United States instead of bullying each other and the moderators.