The second presidential debate was held Sunday night, and it wasn’t pretty. At one point, Donald Trump promised to throw his rival, Hillary Clinton, in prison if he won the election (no, really).
While all of that stuff is rather asinine and disturbing, I only have a few hundred words for this column so I am going to tell you about what I thought was substantive instead of telling tales of passive-aggressive and active-aggressive behavior.
The idea behind the debate was that the candidates would be answering questions from ordinary Americans, just like you or me. The moderators also introduced topics and prodded the candidates on certain issues. Watch the debates for yourself or read the transcript for a fuller context. Sorry, the nastiness will not be covered here.
To start with, Obama’s Affordable Care Act was mentioned. Ironically, many people find that it is not so affordable. Clinton wants to reform Obamacare while Trump wants to repeal it and fix the system by making healthcare more competitive than it currently is.
On Trump’s Muslim ban, he has said that his position has “morphed” into “extreme vetting” rather than an outright ban. He is still going with his old line of attack: we are being threatened by unsavory characters who sneak into our country, a “Trojan horse.” Clinton agreed that refugees should be well-vetted but she doesn’t see refugees as being as problematic as Trump does.
They also spoke of the southern border; it was essentially the same idea only with more deportation. Oddly, there was no talk of building a wall.
Next, Clinton defended her dealings with elites in private by comparing herself to Abraham Lincoln. The argument was that Lincoln didn’t always say exactly what he felt to influential groups and ultimately was still a force for good in the world.
The Lincoln comparison was ostentatious but not necessarily inaccurate. I mean, look what happened to the candidates in the primaries who tried to be themselves. Still, the specter of being a shill lingers over Hillary’s head.
Onto tax loopholes and the rich paying their “fair share.” Trump admitted that he had used them but tried to say that Clinton had had a chance to end the problem while she was in the senate.
Clinton claimed she would have been able to do so if it weren’t for “veto power” by the Republican President George W. Bush. She was a senator from 2001 to 2009; she missed out on a period of Democrat supremacy that followed.
Syria and its president was brought up. Trump believes that ISIS must be dealt with and he admitted that he disagreed with his running mate, Mike Pence, on whether to strike the Syrian government if it didn’t see eye to eye with American interests. Pence’s job is basically to make Trump palatable to the conservative establishment, and that gets harder every time the billionaire opens his mouth. Clinton promised not to deploy ground troops in Syria but to fight ISIS by other means.
Finally: energy. How might our energy policy remain “environmentally friendly” while “minimizing job loss”? Trump said that, while he supports renewable energy, he also wants to bring back many of the lost energy jobs and lessen the weight of government regulations. Clinton pushed for energy independence and fighting climate change. She also said she wished to “revitalize” areas affected by the departure of coal jobs.
This isn’t the whole story. There was too much misinformation and straight-up BS in this debate to be covered here. Please, watch or read the debate and do research. Whatever your opinions are, please be informed when you enter that voting booth. There is one debate left, and it’s certain to be quite something.