It all comes down to this; Presidential debates mark beginning of election countdown

By Madison McClellan, Vinny Ramundo, Mackenzie Wagner, David Waterman, Ellie White, and Nicholas Wynn.

The election to choose the 45th President of the United States of America is only 20 days away, and even though a small percentage of McNicholas students are eligible to vote, the Milestone staff feels a responsibility as student journalists to address the current political climate.  The 2016 election will impact all students since the next POTUS will be the incumbent in 2020.

The Milestone staff decided it best to address the key points from each of the two previous debates while including key points to watch for in the third debate, especially for those wishing to focus on the issues and not the candidates themselves.

Debate #1: September 26 – Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York

During the first presidential debate between candidates Hillary Clinton (D) and Donald Trump (R), three main topics were covered: jobs and the economy, racial issues, and mutual acceptance of whom the American people chose as President.

Jobs and Economy. Clinton gave her opinion first to moderator and NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt. “Let’s have paid family leave, earned sick days. Let’s be sure we have affordable child care and debt-free college. That means jobs in infrastructure, in advanced manufacturing, innovation and technology, clean, renewable energy, and small business, because most of the new jobs will come from small business,” Clinton said.

Donald Trump responded to same question: “Our jobs are fleeing the country. They’re going to Mexico. They’re going to many other countries. You look at what China is doing to our country in terms of making our product. They’re devaluing their currency, and there’s nobody in our government to fight them, and we have a very good fight.…Under my plan, I’ll be reducing taxes tremendously, from 35 percent to 15 percent for companies, small and big businesses.”

Racial Tensions. According to Clinton, her plan is “to restore trust between communities and the police. We have to work to make sure that our police are using the best training, the best techniques, that they’re well prepared to use force only when necessary. Everyone should be respected by the law, and everyone should respect the law.”

The same question was asked of Trump, to which he responded, “Well, first of all, Secretary Clinton doesn’t want to use a couple of words, and that’s ‘law and order,’ and we need law and order. If we don’t have it, we’re not going to have a country.”

Mutual support. The last topic was a quick question on if the candidates would support whomever was chosen for President. “I support our democracy. And sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but I certainly will support the outcome of this election,” Clinton said.

Trump responded by saying, “Look, here’s the story. I want to make America great again. I’m going to be able to do it. I don’t believe Hillary will. The answer is, if she wins, I will absolutely support her.”

Debate #2: October 9 – Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri

The second debate, moderated by Martha Raddatz from ABC and Anderson Cooper from CNN, began with questions about personal issues for both candidates, questioning their competence to hold the highest office in the land. The first half of the debate included more back-and-forth arguing than direct question answering, and the candidates even seemed to allow their emotions on one another take control. The second half of the debate was more a more structured “town hall” style where the candidates answered policy questions posed by an audience of undecided voters.

Locker room talk and email allegations. First, moderator Anderson Cooper brought up the 2005 audio recording of Trump where he made derogatory statements toward women, which originally surfaced Oct. 7. Trump responded to the topic by claiming he wasn’t proud of his “locker room talk,” but that he’s never sexually assaulted any woman in his life and that he has “tremendous respect for women.” Clinton’s email scandal was also revisited, and she dismissed the allegations against her as being “absolutely false.”

Supreme Court appointees. One question regarded the Supreme Court. “I want to appoint Supreme Court justices who understand the way the world really works, who have real-life experience… I want a Supreme Court that will stick with Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose, and I want a Supreme Court that will stick with marriage equality,” Clinton said.

Trump then gave his view. “I am looking to appoint judges very much in the mold of Justice Scalia… People that will respect the Constitution of the United States. And I think that this is so important. Also, the Second Amendment, which is totally under siege by people like Hillary Clinton. They’ll respect the Second Amendment and what it stands for, what it represents,” he said.

Mutual respect. The debate closed with a question inquiring what each candidate likes about the other. “Look, I respect his children. His children are incredibly able and devoted, and I think that says a lot about Donald,” Clinton said of Trump. Trump complimented Clinton back, saying, “She doesn’t quit. She doesn’t give up. I respect that. I tell it like it is. She’s a fighter.”

Debate #3: University of Nevada, Las Vegas

The third and final debate for the 2016 presidential election will take place on October 19 from 9 to 10:30 p.m. The debate will be held at the University of Nevada – Las Vegas, and will be moderated by Fox News anchor Chris Wallace. It will air live on most major news networks.

Like the first debate, the final debate will be divided into six time segments based on six question topics. Each segment will last about 15 minutes. After posing the question, Wallace will allow each candidate two minutes to answer, then balance the remaining time so that they may respond to one another. The question topics include debt and entitlements, immigration, the economy, the Supreme Court, foreign hot spots, and fitness to be President.

According to the most current report at press time by USA Today, Clinton leads Trump in the national average polls, 46.1% to 39.2%, respectively. Third party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein each have 6.7% and 2.4%, respectively.

Clinton is the first woman to be nominated by a major political party for president, and she will be the first female president should she win the election. Unlike most presidential candidates in the past, Trump has not been a career politician but has instead built a successful business career with a focus on real estate.

Election day is on Nov. 8, with polls open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the State of Ohio.

Donald Trump (R) and Hillary Clinton (D) square off in the first presidential debate on September 26 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. Opposing views clashed as the candidates defended their beliefs. (Photo Courtesy of CBS.)
The town-hall style of the second presidential debate encouraged more conversation between Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton. The second debate was held on October 9 at Washington University in St. Louis. (Photo courtesy of The Daily Dot.)

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