The first US Presidential Debate took place at Hofstra University in New York on Monday. The debate is the first of three between Democratic Party Leader Hillary Clinton and Republican Party Leader Donald Trump in the lead up to the November 8th election day. The 58th President of the United States of America could be decided through these debates for many Americans, sadly for Trump the vote polling on the debate’s winner went to Clinton.
With Public Policy Polling finding that 51% of viewers thought Clinton had won the debate, whilst only 40% thought Trump had won the six segment debate. A YouGov poll agreed with figures claiming Clinton’s win, finding that 57% of viewers thought that Clinton won the first debate, with a mere 30% declaring Trump the winner.
The debate was broken into six segments and comprised of 15 minute intervals that covered, with the help of host Journalist Lester Holt, several key issues that voters would be eager to hear about in order to help convince swing voters.
The candidates views on all six segments are explained below:
The Economy and Job Creation
Clinton called for additional taxing on incomes over $5 million, an increase on estate tax and a boost in the capital gains tax to close the “tax loopholes” exploited by the wealthy. Further asking for higher tax breaks for middle-class families on healthcare and education. Whereas Trump has a different approach with plans to reduce the tax brackets from seven to three categories, eliminating the estate tax altogether, cutting corporate taxes to 15% from the current 35% and increase the tax break (standard deduction) allowed for individual filers.
With both candidates claiming these financial breaks, increases and crack downs will increase jobs across the US. Trump claims his plan will help create 25 million jobs over 10 years by investing in infrastructure, increasing trade relations on the terms that US negotiations are met, stopping jobs in the manufacturing industry and other from going to other countries and by removing regulations. Clinton is believed to create 10 million new jobs with her plans to invest in small businesses, renewable energy, manufacturing and technology as well as increasing employment training with the new tax revenue from the surtax.
Trump claims that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will not benefit the US, and that he will re-open negotiations on already signed pacts including the North American Free Trade (Nafta) and withdraw trade relations if US demands are not met. Further accusing US trading partners, such as Mexico and China, of numerous injustices that if not addressed, measures will be taken to implement reforms and impose tariffs on the country’s trade agreements.
Clinton has now recanted her support for the TPP, and agrees with Trump, that in the current form the TPP and the Central American Free Trade Agreement need to be reformulated to help the country trade with the rest of the world.
The Federal Deficit
Both candidates supported their views on the economy and job creation to help improve the current Federal deficit, but Trump claimed the country’s Federal deficit was a result of Clinton’s actions in saying, “we don’t have the money because it’s been squandered on your ideas”. Clinton gave a quick rebuttal and replied “Maybe it’s because you haven’t paid your taxes!”
Race Relations and Policing
With race relations and policing currently at the forefront of voters minds in the US, the current sensitive topic was addressed and taken on thoroughly by both candidates. With Clinton identifying the racial bias that must be addressed in the US police department and speaking out against mass incarceration stating that mandatory minimum sentences should be reformulated. She also supported the rehabilitation of non-violent drug offenders and laws that prohibit both racial profiling and the police method of “stop and frisk”, as both have proven ineffective.
Although Trump took a back step on his claims that President Obama was born outside the US, the property tycoon claimed that law enforcement should be allowed to be tough on offenders by voicing his support for “stop and frisk”. He claimed the policy has worked and adds that police profiling is also necessary in order to prevent terrorist attacks on US soil.
The War on Terror
The War on Terror has been a forefront issue in the US since 9/11, and both candidates expressed quite different views on how to address the issue. Trump exclaimed the US must make closer allies with Russia specifically, and also in Europe and Asia. He added that they should increase their expenditure on their national defence as US foreign policy always should prioritise American interests. He further claimed he did not support the war in Iraq ‘from the beginning’, but suggested the US should commit thousands of ground troops to combat IS and terrorism in the Middle East with increased help from NATO, as he claimed the US covers too much of the costs.
The only thing Clinton agreed on with Trump is on her regret for the Iraq War, but unlike Trump she provided examples of how to implement her suggestions. She expressed interest to expand the US role against IS in Syria by implementing a no-fly zone and helping to arm rebels but opposed ground troops. She also supported the continued US military presence in Afghanistan and the country’s ties to NATO as it strengthens European allies relations and replenishes the power of Russia.
US Foreign Policy
Yet another issue where both candidates barely agreed, Clinton expressed her dismay with Trump’s invitation to Russian President, “I was shocked when Donald publicly invited Putin to hack into Americans. That is just unacceptable… Donald is unfit to be commander-in-chief.” But she expressed her support of President Obama’s giving permanent legal residency and US citizenship to long term undocumented residents and their families. Adding she opposed privately run detention facilities and thought Trump’s wall was “dumb”. Adding she wished to continue the history of the country welcoming those fleeing oppression and violence by increasing the current number of resettled Syrian refugees from 10,000 annually to 65,000.
Whereas Trump stood by his proposed wall along the US-Mexico border, as well as suggesting “extreme vetting” procedures such as ideological tests be implemented against refugees or those originating from the Middle East or a Muslim nation – as they present a serious threat to the country. Further stating that Middle Eastern nations must do more to create safe zones for those fleeing the violence. The property tycoon also called for the reduction in immigration altogether and wished to recommence the deportation of undocumented migrants to reduce the number of migrants living in the US. Trump also dismissed his invitation was undertaken by Russia and claimed it may have instead been a “400 pound person sitting on their bed” or China who hacked the Democratic Party.
Political and Business Experience
In recent years major party candidates have fully disclosed their recent tax returns but Trump became the first since Gerald Ford in 1976 to not publicly release any of his tax returns. Trump claimed he was under a “routine audit” by the IRS and would release his tax documents once the inquest had ceased, promising he would also release them if Clinton released the 33,000 deleted emails that were deleted whilst she was secretary of state. He also boasted that his temperament was one of his best qualities and made him fit for office whereas Clinton did not have this and she was therefore not fit for the Presidency.
Clinton hit back hard on this replying “Whew, OK!” after he had finished his boastful speech on his temperament, adding she had released her own recent tax returns but that he continually refused too. Adding on his random tweet that claimed climate change was a Chinese “hoax” and nothing more, although he has since refuted the tweet. Clinton also attacked Trumps criticism on her preparation for the debate stating “I think Donald just criticised me for preparing for this debate. And yes I did. And you know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be president.”
Whilst polling between the two party preferred candidates remains close, the interest of the nation and the world were glued to the screen to watch the pair debate the country’s top issues. The debate proved to be the most watched debate in American history, with over 84 million viewers watching the debate live on TV, overtaking the 1980 debate between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan which gained 80.4 million viewers at the time. The next two debates between the major party candidates will take place on October 9th at Washington University in St Louis and October 19th at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.