Arguing with Fools (Clinton v. Trump debate II)

Last night Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton engaged in a “Townhall” style debate. In this debate format the candidates are supposed to take questions from the audience and answer them to the best of their abilities.

However this debate was not like any other debate that has taken place on the national stage. This is partly because of the drama that has surrounded Trump in the past week and the hostile partisan state of the nation. This debate was not about two candidates for high office presenting opposing views, this was simply about the terrible things that each of them could say about each other. The debate moderators clearly understood the most entertaining approach to the debate was to litigate the character of each candidate. They started out with Trump’s sexist comments which were caught on tape. Trump gave a light apology for engaging in “locker room talk” and tried to minimize the issue by implying that there were more important national security issues than a current candidate for President potentially being a sexual predator.

Clinton got predictable questions about her e-mails and apologized for it once again, but Trump continued to attack her on the issue. Clinton countered by pointing out that Trump has possibly not paid taxes since 1995 and that his comments reflected a man who did not have a high regard for women. Trump picked up on the comment about women to point out that he had brought some women who had accused President Bill Clinton and weirdly tried to connect it to Hillary Clinton.

It seemed like about half of the 90 minute debate was taken up by these types of attacks. In the process Trump seemed to admit that he had used loopholes in the tax code in order to avoid paying taxes and implied that this knowledge enabled him to know what to do in order to close those loopholes. He also said that he would appoint a special investigator to look into Hillary Clinton’s e-mail situation although the issue has already been settled by the FBI. Trump also attacked Clinton by saying she was unable to accomplish anything during her 30 years in the public eye as First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State. He said Obamacare was a disaster and implied that it should be repealed although he was unclear what he would do to replace it. Hillary explained that Obamacare had helped to get many uninsured people health insurance and that it needed to be improved to control for some of the cost of healthcare. On immigration Trump said that we don’t vet refugees coming into the country (we actually do) and advocated for something called “extreme vetting” which doesn’t really have a definition.

The debate turned to foreign policy and Trump had nothing new to say but did attack the current approach to Syria. On the other hand Hillary explained that she would support a no fly zone in Syria and continue to put pressure on ISIS.

In conclusion, this debate was one of the lowest points in American politics that I can remember. It was a horrible debate that reflected the worst parts of politics. It was not an event worthy of its title as a debate for the highest and most powerful office in the world. The debate completely diminished both people who were involved in it. There was only a passing discussion of issues that are germane and important to the running of the country. It was a complete disservice to the nation and the political process. It was politics as entertainment and it was a mockery. For someone like me who enjoys following the political process and views debates as an important and vital part of that process, it was completely depressing. It’s embarrassing that an advanced nation such as America could produce such a terrible result within its system. There were no winners of this debate; the American people were the losers. If this is the tone that the debates are going to take then I don’t think there should be anymore debates ahead of the election.

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