The Second Presidential Debate

Maria F. Estrada, Features Editor

The Land of the Free and Home of the Brave is soon to take on its 45th President. With close proximity to the election, candidates took part in the second presidential debate on Oct.9 at Washington University in St.Louis, Missouri. While Trump was blustered and blathered, Clinton remained cool, resulting in a win for the former Secretary of State. With his repeated unwillingness to answer questions — from “locker room talk”  remarks to his eight interruptions, the Republican candidate once again did not fail to prove his temperamental unfitness for the presidency. Sally Kohn, CNN political commentator, even stated, “he tried to win the debate just like one wins a limbo contest — by lowering the bar.”

Depiction of the amount of times each candidate was interrupted or interjected the opposition.
Depiction of the amount of times each candidate was interrupted or interjected the opposition.

Given that Trump’s poll numbers are at staggering rates, his sole mission for the night was to increase his numbers. However, the candidate failed miserably when he accused Bill Clinton of rape when he dismissed the tape of him bragging about groping women as “locker room talk” three different times. Instead of sincerely apologizing for his misogyny, Trump pivoted to a discussion on ISIS.  To add on to his mess, he later went on a rant about Hillary’s deleted emails and promised to “instruct” his attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor to follow up on the case and imprison her. This despotic statement is a display of his lack of knowledge seeing that under the law, a president can request, not order, the Justice Department to appoint a special prosecutor and Justice must then make a decision independent of White House control. This statement definitely did not appeal to new voters in the fold, especially women.

“Well, I won’t say that Trump won but he certainly did better than the first debate in terms of shifting focus and painting Hillary as a worse person. Overall, I think Hillary did better as she stayed more on policies especially with the whole Health Care question instead of mudslinging, which was Trump’s strong point,” senior Leismary Davis said.

Although Trump did make astonishingly nonfactual statements, he seemed to have learned from the last debate and attacked Clinton with her email scandal. Secretary Clinton perhaps took a quick downfall as she explained her use of private email servers as Secretary of State. Although she did express regret, she became entangled in her explanation of the incident. “If you did that in the private sector, you’d be put in jail, let alone after getting a subpoena from the United States Congress,” Trump said. Clinton was also attacked on the released excerpts of her Wall Street speeches that were seen to be possibly tied to the Russian government and released by Wikileaks. Surprisingly, Clinton did not deny the authenticity of the documents. However, she explained her comments about having different public and private policy positions by saying it was a reference to a film about Abraham Lincoln. Trump rebutted by comparing her and honest Abe and said that Lincoln never lied, unlike her.

In spite of Clinton’s stumbles, Trump faltered when discussing Syria and ultimately confessed that he did not agree with his running mate, Mike Pence, on taking sides with Russia. He appeared to side more with Vladimir Putin than his own selection of Vice President. “Pence and I haven’t spoken. And I disagree. I disagree,” Trump said. It should definitely be worrisome to Americans that a candidate does not agree with running mate an issue regarding national security. Ultimately, Trump discussed with the c0-moderator that he would launch a surprise attack in Syria and that Aleppo is a lost cause. Another downfall for Trump was when an audience member asked him to address Islamophobia. He responded by stating that “it is a shame,” and discussed the importance of American Muslims to report “when they see something going on”. His ambiguity and misdirection exhibit his lack of knowledge — something that a potential U.S. president should not have.

Mr. Trump is being considered to run a nation that many rely on and admire, yet he shows no evidence of intellectual capacity to fulfill this position. Although Clinton didn’t take every chance she had to come out over her opponent, she was more coherent and straightforward with her proposals. The night ended when the candidates were asked to name one thing they liked about their opponent and Trump responded saying he admired her ability to never give up and Clinton said she liked Trump’s children. This closed the debate and perhaps showed a bit more maturity on Trump’s side, but it was not able to obscure his constant interruptions, flawed foreign policy, and immature strategy throughout the evening.