Presidential Debate Round 1

Foreman-Ali. McGreggor-Diaz. Pesi-Coke. All of these bouts between formidable opponents pale in comparison to what we will be seeing tonight when the two least-liked presidential candidates in the history of our country, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, go head-to-head at Hofstra University in New York in the first of three debates before election day. They will slug it out for a whole ninety minutes, uninterrupted by commercial breaks with NBC journalist and news anchor Lester Holt moderating in an attempt to energize their base and also convince any voters that are still on the fence. This debate has been highly anticipated from the moment both candidates won their respective party’s nomination for president (possibly, even before that) and will be a spectacle unlike anything we have seen thus far in the 21st century. As is the case with most functions involving the Trump variable, it is unclear what to expect tonight but one thing is certain: this campaign is just heating up.

After rival billionaire businessman Mark Cuban announced he would be sitting front row  at the debate to see Clinton “overwhelm” Trump, Trump, true to his form, took the low road and extended a front-row invitation to Bill Clinton’s former lover, Gennifer Flowers. Flowers gladly accepted the invitation though Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway has made it clear that she has not been invited by the campaign.

Trump’s pre-debate shenanigans preparations don’t end there, however. Two weeks ago, he floated the idea of having a debate sans moderator, because moderators are “tough” on him and give him “tough questions”, thus making the debates “rigged” and “unfair”. Fortunately for Trump, most major news networks that will be broadcasting tonight’s debates will not be fact checking the candidates while they speak as they have argued that it is the other candidate’s responsibility to do so. However, Bloomberg TV has decided to break with the mainstream media and will be fact checking both candidate’s statements on screen in real time rather than waiting after the debate like all other news channels.

This debate will be a new experience for Trump as it will be one-on-one, as opposed to the debates during the Republican primary where he shared the stage with as many as nine different opponents simultaneously. This debate will require Trump to actually provide an in-depth, detailed response on his proposed policies rather than simply blurting out jarring phrases or schoolyard nicknames as he is so prone to doing. But what should be Trump’s greatest weakness– his lack of debate experience– is, in fact, one of his greatest strengths, as Trump is a master of entertainment and telling people what they want to hear; in this day and age, it would appear that’s all some voters are looking for.

However, it is unclear which of the many versions of Trump will we will see tonight: the calm, cool, and collective statesman-like Trump who reads from teleprompters, or the loud and brash Trump who resorts to petty insults to get his point across. Likewise, it is unclear as to what tactics Clinton will use to combat Trump and whether she will pursue Trump for some of his more inexcusable comments as she has in her campaign ads. It will also be interesting to see her outreach to reluctant or unwillingly supporters in the weeks before election day as she faces daunting public perceptions of being dishonest and untrustworthy and will have to make the case that she is indeed the candidate our country needs rather than simply resorting to “TRUMP = BAD”.

Clinton, being the much more experienced debater,  needs to hammer these issues home and expose Trump’s lack of detailed knowledge into his proposed policies. The Associated Press has previously reported that “Trump’s campaign has posted just seven policy proposals on his website, totaling just over 9,000 words. There are 38 on Clinton’s ‘issues’ page, ranging from efforts to cure Alzheimer’s disease to Wall Street and criminal justice reform, and her campaign boasts that it has now released 65 policy fact sheets, totaling 112,735 words.” Trump himself has stated that he is not a stickler for policy, saying in an interview at the onset of his campaign that “I am a person who does not necessarily believe in plans that have 14 steps. Because when the second step gets out of whack, you’re screwed. I don’t think the voters care about specifics. I think the press cares, but I’ve never had a voter ask for my policy papers.” While word count does not necessarily entail substance, it is hard to see how Trump can debate Clinton on certain issues when his campaign hasn’t even formulated his positions on them. Then again, Trump’s lack of detailed plans on his website could be some type of masterful ploy to prevent Clinton’s camp from seeing all his cards, therefore leaving him room for a quick swivel on his stances. This sounds absurd, I know, but this election stopped making sense a long time ago.

It would also be to Clinton’s benefit if she could manipulate Trump’s bumptiousness and bait him into showing his ill-tempered, un-presidential side to the millions of Americans watching at home. However, Clinton must walk a very fine line and make sure to not stoop down to Trump’s level of petty personality attacks and insults. While Clinton should contrast herself with Trump like day and night, she also has to provide an alternative and tell the American people what she plans on doing to ensure that we build on the successes of President Obama rather than just bashing her opponent, which would further alienate voters who already see this election as a sham.

At this point in the race, I feel like it is Clinton’s election to lose. Though Trump has undoubtedly been making some inroads in the past few days, capitalizing on some of Clinton’s mistakes, and climbing the public opinion polls, he continues to shoot himself in the foot seemingly every time he opens his mouth to “speak his mind” as his supporters so kindly put it. The quality that Clinton has that Trump doesn’t is that, though seen as untrustworthy and honest, she has at the very least some general idea of how to run our country. While we might not see the prosperity our country deserves, we will at least survive long enough to see another election, possibly two, under a Clinton presidency. Trump, on the other hand, neither has the temperament nor the virtue of being able to lead this country, or any country other than a despotic, dystopian hell-hole. A Trump presidency would be dangerous not only for our nation, but our world as a whole. His economic and labor policies would cripple the American economy and hurt working class Americans while simultaneously lining the pockets of Trump and his like. His vile anti-Muslim rhetoric has played right into the hands of Islamic extremists and his proposed policies of banning or tracking Muslims go against not only the very fabric of American society, but also human decency. He has sowed the seeds of mistrust, hatred, and blind anger into our communities and has revealed the prejudice, racist American underbelly many would like to believe no longer exists. Like his businesses, he will use the presidency to benefit himself and those around him at the expense of everyone that’s propping him up from beneath. If elected president, his inability to lead the world’s greatest nation will be evident upon inauguration. Our country would lose credibility and both international and intranational relations would sour. I could go on and on in regards to why a Trump presidency would spell doom for our Republican, but our readers can check out these other articles I have written on the subject.

That’s not to say I myself am a fan of Hillary Clinton. Though some of her accomplishments and efforts for women, children, and people of color should be praised, Clinton has often exhibited either questionable judgment or malicious intent. As we’ve written previously, “her silencing of her husband’s alleged rape victims, her description of African American teenagers as ‘super predators‘ that needed to be brought ‘to heel’ as if they were animals, her support of her husband’s ‘tough-on-crime‘ policies, her role in the humanitarian crisis in Honduras and the collapse of Libya during her tenure as Secretary of State, her ties with the fossil fuel industry, big pharma and big banking, her support of fracking, as well as her usage of a personal email server to handle classified data” are just some of the few concerns I and many other prospective voters have in mind when considering Mrs. Clinton as our choice for presidency. Above all, I detest her for portraying the innocent frog and meme Pepe as an alt-right white supremacy symbol, but that’s for another article. On top of my personal dissatisfaction with Hillary Clinton, I also believe that the two-party system we have in place is antiquated and unfitting for modern times and that this election, regardless of the outcome, is the beginning of the end of one or even both major parties as we know them. Though this election is quite frankly shameful and epitomizes everything that is wrong with our country, it is of the utmost importance that we prevent Donald Trump from becoming president if our country– and our world– wants to make it past the second decade of this millennia. We are now six weeks away from election day– barring the arrival of a giant meteor of destruction that would spare us the pain of having to chose between the two, we here at In Loco Politico urge our readers to register to vote if they haven’t already and go make their voices heard on November 8.

Tonight’s presidential debate will be airing live on most major news networks and their websites starting at 9 pm eastern. YouTube, Twitter, and Faceboook will also be streaming the debate.

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