Takeaways From the Presidential Debate

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This past Monday, we saw the first Presidential Debate between Mr. Donald Trump and Secretary Hillary Clinton. The debate marked the first time the two candidates were in the same room.

We saw varying visions of future of United States and how the candidates planned on tackling the problems the country faces. Topics included: domestic policies, race issues, trade and foreign policy. While most sources claimed that Clinton won the debate, there are many factors that go into determining a winner. The Editorial Board believes that it is difficult to determine the winner of the debates. This is our analysis.

First, we should look at how the candidates approached the political issues. On the topic of trade, Trump criticized the United States’ position in North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). He said that free trade does not work because other countries like China who manipulate their currency gain a competitive advantage over the U.S. NAFTA has also caused United States’ jobs to move overseas to countries including India, China and Mexico. Trump condemned Clinton for supporting NAFTA. In the realm of foreign policy, Clinton sought to reassure NATO allies that the our country would not pull out of its military agreements. Trump had previously discussed leaving NATO. While debating, he discussed the need for European countries to pay “their share” of defense spending. On the topic of the Middle East, Trump blamed Clinton for all problems in the region: he stated how she has been fighting the Islamic State for the last thirty years.

Other than the discussion of real and current political issues, the etiquette of each candidate is another significant aspect to pay attention to. According to The New York Times, Trump interrupted Clinton about 39 times during her talking periods while Clinton interrupted Trump eight times. Ideally, in a debate, one is to wait their turn to speak even when he/she absolutely disagrees with what his/her opponent is saying.

On the topic of each candidate’s physicality, Clinton was observed to be more composed and stoic while Trump was more bombastic and brash. Both Clinton and Trump tried to bait each other by pulling up past quotes and actions. Trump seemed to dodge more questions and comments than Clinton did.

Overall, both candidates made claims that were false. For example, Clinton claimed Trump filed for bankruptcy six times, he responded saying he only filed four times. Fact checkers have said that Hillary was correct with six times. Hillary lied on her view of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). She said she never claimed it to be the “gold standard”. However, according to FactCheck, it was proven that as early as 2012 she claimed it to be a great deal.

All and all, the debate showcased what the two candidates stood for, and it was a battle between a long time politician and a newcomer outsider. However based on our opinion as a board, we found Clinton to be the winner, due to her debate etiquette, detailed answers to policy questions, and less amount of false claims. We look forward to the Vice Presidential Debate and the second Presidential Debate in October.

[Graphic by Joseph Gotto/Graphics Editor]

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