By: Regina Wright ~Campus News Editor~
Declared winner by Fox News and CNN/ORC polls, Hillary Clinton took charge of the first presidential debate with her plans for the economy, healing race relations in America and foreign policy.
Starting the night, moderator Lester Holt announced three topic sections to be discussed: Achieving prosperity, America’s direction and securing America. After winning a coin toss, Clinton was the first to start each segment with her twominute response to Holt’s questions. Trump followed with his two-minute response, and then the question was open to discussion.
“Why are you a better choice than your opponent to create the kinds of jobs that will put more money into the pockets of American workers?” Holt asked for an opening question.
Clinton and Trump clashed on their economic proposals. Clinton proposed a plan for investing in infrastructure, innovation and technology, clean and renewable energy, small businesses and college education. She also included a plan for increasing the minimum wage, ending the gender wage gap and increasing paid family leave. Her plan would be paid for by the wealthy through “paying their fair share and closing corporate loopholes.”
Trump rebutted by stating America is losing its trading game and becoming the “piggy-bank of the world.” He made this claim on the basis that China devalues its currency, which could compel industrial giants to leave the country. His plan would cut company tax rates from 35 percent to 15 percent, renegotiate trade deals and stop countries from outsourcing in the first place.
Clinton attacked Trump’s plan comparing it to trickle down economics. She called it “Trumpedup trickle down,” and stated that it didn’t work for Reagan and won’t work now.
“Independent workers have looked at what I’ve proposed and looked at what Donald’s proposed… his tax plan would blow up the debt by over $5 trillion. They’ve looked at my plans and they’ve said if we can do this… we will have 10 million more new jobs.”
Fact checkers found that the conservative Tax Foundation estimates Trump’s plans would cost $4.4 trillion while a liberal group, Citizens for Tax Justice, estimated $4.8 trillion.
While debating their plans, personal jabs were thrown at Trump regarding his statement that climate change is a hoax created by China and at Clinton over her husband’s signing of the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA). Trump stated NAFTA was the worst trade deal ever approved in the country.
Fact checkers also found Congressional Research Service suggests NAFTA did not have significant economic consequences since trade with Canada and Mexico are small portions of American economic activity. Fact checkers also found a tweet in 2012 by Trump stating he believed climate change was a hoax created by China.
Trump furthered his attack on Clinton’s past support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) saying she called it the “gold standard of trade deals” and only became opposed when she heard what was being said about it.
Fact checkers found Clinton spoke out more than 40 times in favor of TPP.
Clinton and Trump didn’t move off the subject of TPP until she announced her full economic plan could be read in “Stronger Together.” They continued to argue with each other about regulations and tax cuts until Holt interrupted and moved to the next topic, America’s direction.
Holt opened the segment with questions about their proposed tax plans. The discussion quickly moved into personal jabs again with Clinton calling on Trump to release his tax return papers. Trump stated he is in a continual audit and will release them when it is over. After Holt stated the IRS allows one to release your paperwork during an audit, Trump said he would release his papers when she released her 33,000 deleted emails.
Clinton countered that he hasn’t released the paperwork because he doesn’t pay federal taxes and “there is something he is hiding.”
Trump tried to turn the conversation around by focusing on his tax plan. He claimed that America is turning into a third world country because of its crumbling infrastructure and schools. Clinton continued to press the issue, and shot back, saying, “maybe because you haven’t paid any federal taxes.”
Clinton then criticized his business sense of handling the country and said “sometimes what would be good for business wouldn’t be for government.”
Holt moved the topic along and asked each candidate how they would heal the racial divide in America. Clinton explained her plan for race relations with a goal of restoring trust between the community and the police, new police training and tackling gun violence.
“Everyone should be respected by the law, and everyone should respect the law,” Clinton said.
Trump countered with his plan of “law and order.” He believes stop-and-frisk will decrease violence. He cites New York City where Mayor Michael Bloomberg implemented stop-and-frisk and stated murders fell from 2,200 murders in a year to 500.
Clinton responded that stop-and- frisk did not work and murders in New York City continued to decrease even after Mayor Bill de Blasio took office and ended the program.
Fact checkers found Clinton’s statement true, with 2014’s 257 decreasing to 246 in 2015.
Holt moved into the third topic with questions about cyber warfare.
“Who’s behind it, and how do we fight it?” asked Holt.
Clinton stated that the country faces cyber warfare from two groups: states and independent hacker groups.
“We need to make it clear… we are not going to sit idly by and permit state actors to go after our information,” Clinton said. “We’re going to have to make it clear that we don’t want to engage in a different kind of warfare, but we will defend the citizens of this country.”
While discussing current American security issues, Trump made pokes at Clinton over the Iraq War, Iran Nuclear deal and the creation of ISIS. Clinton countered by bringing up his support of the Iraq War and her plan for defeating ISIS.
Fact checkers found in a buried interview with Howard Stern uncovered by Buzzfeed that Trump did support the Iraq War.
Clinton’s ISIS plan includes ending its online footprint to prevent radicalization and communication, continued air strikes and also supporting Arab and Kurdish allies to squeeze ISIS out of Iraq and into Syria. Her last objective is to end the leadership of ISIS.
The debate ended with a question for Trump, asking if he would support Hillary if she won Presidency.
“If she wins, I will absolutely support her,” Trump said.
According to a CNN/ORC poll, 62 percent of respondents said they believed Clinton did a better job in the debate, while 27 percent of respondents believed Trump did.
“Honestly, I was unimpressed,” Junior Political Science major Reyna Gundy said. “I think Donald Trump should have hit Hillary harder on things like illegal immigration and the email scandal. I also think too much time was wasted on personal jabs. I want to hear about policy. I want plans. I’m just at a loss.”
Various campus clubs held viewings of the debate on Monday, including the Political Science Club and Musketeers for Hillary.
“The Presidency of the United States is not only an important position within the United States but globally as well,” Donald Shields, senior political science major, said. “The modern presidency consists of two presidential duties: the domestic presidency and the Foreign policy presidency. In securing a better future for the United States there needs to be a formation of clear and concise ideals that will secure economic betterment throughout the United States.
I do not believe that we need any new taxes but our government should be actively ensuring that the tax dollars go to what is most important, which is ensuring a better way of life for every American. In the foreign policy aspect we must continue to work with our allies to provide effective alliances that can help both countries and continue to keep the world a fair, just place to live. This country needs to work together to keep our jobs within our borders and keep an open mind to every citizen American or global so that everyone can peacefully coexist.”
The second debate will be televised nationally once again on October 9th.