With the general election right around the corner, the presidential debates have officially come to an end. The first debate took place on Sept. 26 at Hofstra University and was moderated by NBC news anchor Lester Holt. The debate focused on three topics, “achieving prosperity, America’s direction and securing America” Holt said before starting the debate.
The debate started off with Holt asking Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton why she is a better choice than Republican nominee Donald Trump to “create the kind of jobs that will put more money into the pockets of American workers.”
Clinton answered by talking about how America needs to build an economy that would work for all Americans, not just the top elite and that would require creating new, good jobs with rising incomes.
When the same question was directed at Trump, he took a different approach. He talked about how jobs were being outsourced to Mexico and China, and how in order to fix the economy “we have to stop our jobs from being stolen from us.” In order to do so, Trump plans to reduce “taxes tremendously, from 35 percent to 15 percent for companies.”
Trump attacked Clinton’s position by saying “You’ve been doing this for 30 years. Why are you just thinking about these solutions right now?”
He later went on to call Hillary a “typical politician” who is “all talk, no action. Sounds good, doesn’t work.”
The scandals surrounding the two candidates were later brought up. Trump addressed his refusal to release his tax returns by stating that “in a way, [he] should be complaining” and that the fact that he doesn’t pay federal income tax “makes [him] smart.”
Clinton was then asked about her deleted emails, at which point she apologized, saying, “I made a mistake using a private email. But I’m not going to make any excuses. It was a mistake and I take responsibility for that.”
After the debate was over, many people declared Clinton the winner. “By all traditional standards of debate, Mrs. Clinton crushed. She carefully marshaled her arguments and facts and…by contrast, [Trump] came in unprepared, had nothing fresh to say, and increasingly gave way to rants,” senior political analyst for CNN David Gergen said, according to cnn.com.
Some students agreed with the media’s consensus that Clinton was the more prepared candidate. “The debate reinforced that Hillary is by far the better choice. People need to stop calling her the lesser of two evils because she’s literally one of the most qualified presidential candidates ever. We should be thankful that we’re going to have such a capable leader to run our country come next year,” sophomore Keerat Singh said.
The second debate took place on Oct. 9 at Washington University in St. Louis. This debate had a different tone than the first one, with Trump firing attacks at Clinton from the start. Clinton chose to remain focused on her campaign’s arguments rather than backlashing at Trump. The debate was concluded with an audience member asking the two candidates to say something they liked about one another. Clinton commented on Trump’s children and Trump praised Clinton’s perseverance.
The final debate took place on Oct. 19. The issue of the validity of the American election arose when moderator Chris Wallace addressed Trump’s statements about the election being rigged to which Trump responded “I will look at it at the time,” implying that if he loses in a few weeks, he will not consider the election valid. Supreme Court nominations, the second amendment and social security. To conclude the debate, Wallace asked each candidate to “tell the American people why they should elect [Clinton or Trump] to be the next president.”
Clinton responded by talking about her goals and the American people. Trump took a different route and talked about Clinton’s inability to get the job done, which makes him more qualified.
Despite presidential debates serving as a crucial way for voters to gain knowledge about the candidates’ ideologies and platforms, some students felt like the debates served more as a source of entertainment. “I still can’t comprehend that this is not a joke and an actual presidential election,” senior Janani Sundaresan said.
With the final debate over, the country will have to wait till Super Tuesday to see who will become the next President of the United States.