How honest will they really be?
This, along with many other questions, came to mind for the 71.5 million viewers who tuned in to watch the third US presidential debate on Wednesday (Oct.19th, 2016) at the Thomas & Mack centre in Nevada, Las Vegas.
In one corner, we have Hillary Clinton, the wife for former US president Bill Clinton, who comes with years of political experience as the former Secretary-of-State and then there’s Donald Trump. You might know him from The Apprentice but Trump is the wealthy businessman from Queens with an overly brash attitude coupled with a ego larger than his own net worth.
Each has their eyes set on the presidential crown and speak about the awe-inspiring changes they will make once elected yet those words are only as good as their credibility.
Who will actually do what they said on the campaign trail? Many citizens around the world often ask themselves that very question before deciding on the leader of their country.
In a perfect world, presidential debate moderators would start with this disclaimer: Don’t promise what you can’t deliver. It’s as easy as that.
No. Seriously. Save us the trouble of believing in you (the presidential candidate) only to be heartbroken in the end (seems to happen a lot in politics).
On Wednesday, we can all agree that the debate started off well with Chris Wallace’s questions on the Constitution and the protection of the Second Amendment. However, Trump’s use of Chicago’s tough gun regulations only served as an oxymoron for his case (mentioning this then switching to his NRA endorsement) and though, Hillary mentioned that she plans to defend gun ownership and prevent deaths from gun violence, no specifics were given as to how she would achieve this.
For the issue of abortion, Trump (pro-life) stuck by his guns on the final decision being left to the individual states while Hillary continued to push that the right to abort should be left to women, not the government (interestingly, she avoided using the words “baby” or “fetus”).
On immigration, Trump made a good point about the war on drugs and the illegal money generated by illegal drugs in America though he lost major points for the “bad hombres” remark. He could have mentioned there are good immigrants as well but being Trump, he classified them as “the rest”, losing an opportunity to mend that decaying bridge. Hillary, however, counters with her support for immigrant families by magnifying Trump’s initial comments on deportation coupled with a few jabs on his visit with the Mexican President. Dodging Trump’s accusations on the her support for border security (the Secure Fence Act of 2006), Hillary fires back with his use of illegal workers to build the Trump Tower then drops a teaser on her plans for undocumented workers.
When Wallace flung a Wikileaks quote on her speech to a Brazilian bank (she was paid $225k), Hillary was thrown off balance and recovered slightly by clarifying the context then dragging up Putin’s name in connection with Trump.
On the issue of the economy, both Trump and Hillary offer very little credibility on her plans to the national minimum wage and creating affordable education. At one point, Hillary does mention the struggles inherited by Obama and commends him for his work thus far (a commendable nod on her part).
Wasting no time, Hillary lashed out with comparisons after Trump mentions the missing “ six billion dollars” from the State Department. Surprisingly, he mentioned a good point about the vacuum in Iraq from which ISIS was born but then hid behind the “incited violence” in Chicago when asked to address the sexual assault allegations made towards him by several women in recent weeks.
To no one’s surprise, Hillary engages in yet another recap of Trump insults when he brings up the destruction of several thousand emails found on her server. Yet the biggest blow to Hillary’s efforts came from her frank avoidance on the issue of the Clinton Foundation and Trump gladly supplemented this with his remarks about its ties to Saudi Arabia and the country’s record on women’s rights.
She paints Trump out to be a whiner (which he is) and it’s sad how he attributes almost every bad decision in the US to either Hillary, Bill or Obama. Yet a truly low blow on Hillary’s part in regards to the Pulse nightclub attack and Donald’s birthplace (what is she really trying to say about Queens?).
In the end, Hillary outlines who she stands for in America (the middle class) while Trump shows a stark contrast of America before mentioning that he will “do more for African-Americans and Latinos than she can ever do in ten lifetimes”. (NPR, 2016).
An ironic line coming from the very man who permitted a toxic and racist atmosphere in his own campaign rallies.
In truth, there was far too much mud-slinging and not enough honesty from either candidate who spend their fair share of time undercutting each other’s arguments. Hillary did her best to portray a dignified, almost motherly stance throughout the debate but her two-faced nature reared its ugly head more than once, proving that she is not as noble as we first thought. On the other hand, Trump displayed a mix of snobbish entitlement and tyranny with his continued fear-mongering, rude interruptions and petty insults.
From the results, Trump now appears to be a man in denial as Hillary might get just to the White House solely on her experience (best card in her hand) and her opponent crippling his own chances (just by flapping his gums).
In conclusion, the presidential debate at UNLV was a truckload of irony and hypocrisy with a dash of childish bickering to boot. Come November 8th, 2016, Americans will have to decide who is truly the best of the worst.
Not the greatest spot to be in but at the end of the day, someone has to be president.
Want to know more about the third US presidential debate of 2016? Check out the links below.
“Fact Check And Full Transcript Of The Final 2016 Presidential Debate.” NPR. October 19, 2016. Accessed October 26, 2016. http://www.npr.org/2016/10/19/498293478/fact-check-trump-and-clinton-s-final-presidential-debate.
Image Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/24564574914/