On Wednesday, October 19, 2016 the last presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump took place at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. A number of hot topics were discussed, some examples being immigration, the economy, foreign policy, and much more. This debate held more weight than all the others because it was the last chance that the candidates had to be on the stage together and possibly gain more support.
The first question concerned the candidates’ opinion as to where they want to see the Supreme Court lead the country and how the Court should interpret the Constitution. Secretary Clinton asserted that the court is to represent all Americans, not solely the wealthy, stand behind their ruling in Roe v. Wade, strengthen women’s rights, and uphold marriage equality. Though she neglected to answer the second part of the question, Clinton continued to emphasize that “[she] will defend Planned Parenthood, [she] will defend Roe v. Wade, and [she] will defend women’s rights to make their own healthcare decisions.” Donald Trump, in response to the same question, said that he wants to see the Supreme Court uphold all the Amendments, especially the right to bear arms. He desires the appointment of Justices that are pro-life and hold a conservative view. Trump explained that he wants the Constitution to be interpreted “the way it was meant to be,” which exemplifies his support for a strict interpretation. Trump went on to state that he wants to see the court overturn Roe v. Wade and prevent abortions from occurring late in the pregnancy. Once Trump finished answering, Clinton was quick to add that she does support the second amendment with reasonable regulation. Trump, in response to Clinton, claimed that she does not support the second amendment and bragged about being funded by the NRA, and other pro-gun special interest groups.
Immigration, the next topic to be addressed, further exemplified the differing opinions of the candidates. The first question, which asked why one candidate was right and the other wrong on their immigration plans or lack of thereof, was first directed to Trump. Further endorsing his proposition for a wall, Trump explained that drugs and criminals were coming over the Mexican border and asserted that a country without a border does not exist. Trump claimed that Hillary’s plan for amnesty was an unfair disaster that cheated those of whom are waiting to legally immigrate into the United States. He also stated that he would order a mass deportation of illegal immigrants. Trump promised that he would speed up the naturalization process, which would allow a greater number of people to enter the U.S. legally. Clinton countered Trump’s proposition of a mass deportation by insinuating that a mass deportation would “rip families apart” which she will try and avoid. Clinton stated that she does agree with more border security, though reiterating the claim that “we are a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws.” Another reason for offering amnesty, she explained, was to prevent employers from exploiting undocumented workers, mainly by not paying them fairly. Later, while deflecting a question about her previous statement concerning her want for open borders, Clinton brought up Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin. She claimed that the cyber-attacks that have been happening recently are from Russia, which is supported by the confirmation given by seventeen civilian and military intelligence organizations. Responding to that and closing the immigration segment, Trump said that he never knew Putin, the attacks are not from Russia, and that he does condemn any foreign interference in our election process.
A stark difference erupted between the two candidates when they addressed economics. During this segment. Hillary said that she wants to raise minimum wage, have equal pay, invest in the middle class, and close loopholes that the rich use for tax exemptions. As far as education and economics are concerned, she wants to start real apprenticeships in high school and provide free public college for families making less than $120,000 a year. Further explaining why her economic strategy is better, she claimed that her plan “won’t add a penny to the debt.” Overall, she wants to invest in the middle class, new jobs, and education, reiterating that she is against the Trump’s trickle-down economics. Trump, on the other hand, remained firm that Clinton’s plans will almost double taxes, while he will introduce large tax cuts. He wants to renegotiate trade deals and have other countries pay for our protection.
The next segment – perhaps the most interesting – concerned the candidates’ “fitness to be president.” Trump started this segment with a defensive approach by denying and saying that all the accusations of assault and unwanted attention that have surfaced in the past week have been debunked, claiming that “Nobody has more respect for women then I do. Nobody.” Trump later moved to an offense against Clinton stating that a four-star general told one lie to the FBI and is now facing prison time and a dishonorable discharge, while Hillary told six lies to the FBI and faced minimal repercussions. He also attacked her arguments by saying that she was in the Senate and should have changed policy during her time there, and that she should not even be allowed to run for president. Clinton started the segment with an offensive strategy stating that Trump attacks women’s dignity and self-worth, that he discriminates against many people and encourages violence, and that more undocumented people pay taxes than a billionaire. Furthering her argument against Trump’s qualifications for presidency, she said “He is unfit, and he proves it every time he talks” Moving on, Clinton declared that she celebrates diversity and lifts people up, and that her and her husband’s non-profit organization, the Clinton Foundation, donates 90% of the funds to charity.
One of today’s hot issues – foreign policy- fueled the fire for the next debate. Starting off, former Secretary of State Clinton was against having occupying American forces in Iraq. Clinton wanted to attack ISIS in Syria by ending the Syrian Civil War and establish a safe haven in Syria to reduce refugees by establishing a firm no fly zone. In addition to her goal of decreasing refugees, she is in favor of vetting Syrian refugees. Another one of her goals is to increase intelligence and attack them in the air, on the ground, and online to keep us safe at home. Clinton advocated that “if you’re too dangerous to fly then you’re too dangerous to own a gun.” Donald Trump did not answer the question at first, rather he criticized the way that the U.S. left Mosul, said that the only benefiting country is Iran, and then started talking about how the Iranian deal was terrible. Getting back on track, Trump said that we should not have an occupying force in Mosul and that the fall of Aleppo is entirely Hillary’s fault. Trump then used Clinton’s supposed fault in Aleppo to transition to the fact that the United States is backing and funding rebels against Assad, who may or may not be even more ruthless.
The final segment, which was on the national debt, was fairly cut-and-dry. Donald Trump started off saying that “we will create an economic machine” and in order to do that, we need better trade deals, renegotiate the ones we already have, and have more intelligent people negotiating them. His last main point was that ObamaCare and social security are so dysfunctional and ineffective that they need to be repealed and replaced. Clinton declared that she will invest in the middle class, work for cheaper medication and education, and close tax loopholes. In addition to the other claims, she promised to put more money into social security.
Overall, Donald Trump was very composed, sticking to conservative ideals with clear and consistent points made during the first forty-five minutes of the debate. Clinton deflected more questions than Trump, but for the questions that she did take time to answer, she gave articulate responses.
To conclude, Clinton won this debate although it was Trump’s best performance, mainly due to his (relative) composure and clear answers.