Debate the Second

By Jesse Rice

On October ninth, 2016, America was treated to another Presidential Debate. In the days leading up to the debate, pundits wondered whether the second debate would be more or less civil than the first. When the debate began without the obligatory handshake, the answer seemed obvious.

The second debate, moderated by Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz, was presented in a Town Hall format. Undecided voters were selected to ask questions of the candidates, with the moderators asking follow-up questions as needed.

The debate began by with a question about how the candidates were modeling civility and appropriate behavior. This quickly led into a question about the video of Mr. Trump that recently came out, recording him bragging of sexual assault. Mr. Trump initially denied he had made such statements, then qualified that by saying that though he might have said them he never actually acted in an inappropriate or illegal way. Mr. Trump then quickly asserted that this entire question was merely a distraction from the real difficulty in the world: ISIS, which he would personally see destroyed. Secretary Clinton responded that throughout past elections she had fought with many Republicans over policy, but had always respected them as people. Mr. Trump, she said, was the first Republican who she truly thought was unqualified for the presidency.

The audience then asked a question about healthcare. Secretary Clinton began by stating that she agreed that Obamacare had issues. However, she also highlighted the good it has done: providing healthcare to millions of Americans (which fact checkers stated was technically done also through the expansion of Medicaid, not just Obamacare) and ended the ability of insurance companies to refuse service to those with chronic illnesses. Mr. Trump countered by saying that Obamacare was entirely a mess, having driven up premium prices and costing the government far too much money. The only logical course, said Mr. Trump, is to abandon the whole thing. Unfortunately, fact checkers point out that though various individual insurance prices may have risen under Obamacare, as a whole prices are rising slower than they were before Obamacare. Also, fact checkers denounced Mr. Trump’s solution (allowing people to purchase health insurance outside of their state), stating that there is no evidence this plan would make the insurance market any better.

The conversation also turned to the candidates’ tax plans. Mr. Trump laid out a plan to remove ‘carried interest,’ effectively cutting out a loophole allowing the rich to be taxed less on certain parts of their income. Instead, Mr. Trump argued to cut taxes for all people, so that the rich might be able to better invest in the economy. Secretary Clinton, Mr. Trump claimed, would only raise taxes for the middle class (fact checkers disproved this, stating that actually Mr. Trump’s plan would raise taxes for the middle class). Secretary Clinton, meanwhile, laid out a plan to tax the rich at a higher rate, while not interfering with the rate of the lower and middle class. Economists stated that her plan would do just that.

Finally, to end the night, the candidates were asked to name a quality they admired in their opponent. Secretary Clinton began, stating that she truly appreciated the intelligence of Mr. Trump’s children. As a mother and grandmother herself, that was something she admired in Mr. Trump. On his turn, Mr. Trump complimented Secretary Clinton’s tenacity and perseverance. “She doesn’t give up,” said Mr. Trump, “and I consider that a very good trait.” (NPR).

Later polls marked that 44% of voters considered Secretary Clinton the winner, 34% Mr. Trump, and 21% felt that neither had won (CNBC). The third and final debate will be held October nineteenth.



For a full transcript of the debate:


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