Friday, October 14, 2016

Second Presidential Debate: Are Any of Us Winners?

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The second Presidential Debate did not go particularly well for either candidate, nor did it reveal anything about the candidates that U.S. citizens weren’t already aware of. However, the way that the candidates handled themselves and answered questions said a lot about the values of American citizens.

Although many people believe that Hillary lost her head- and- shoulders lead over Trump in this debate, I think she proved that she had learned from the first debate that Trump will end up digging himself into a hole if she just lets him talk and does not interrupt. Her lack of interruptions also served as a way to make up for her Vice President, Tim Kaine who, in the Vice Presidential debate, lost his composure and interrupted Mike Pence many times. Hillary reestablished her party’s and her own debate integrity and respect for the process.

Once again, Trump had questionable body language and aggressive and reckless debate tactics. While Hillary was answering questions, Trump paced back and forth along the back of the stage like a lion stalking his prey. It ended up benefiting Hillary because it showed how well she could keep her composure in weird situations. While Trump was antsy and distracting during her questions, Hillary made an effort to make occasional eye contact and still make the audience feel as though they were being addressed.

One of the most questionable things Trump did for the second debate was his stunt of holding a pre-debate news conference with a handful of women allegedly assaulted by Bill Clinton. Exploiting the stories of the women to get people riled up before a debate is disrespectful and takes attention away from the actual problem of their situation. The uncovering of these stories should not be brought about to squash an opponent, it should be brought about to get justice for the women that were assaulted. It is a serious situation, not a debate tool.

From even lightly following the debates and overall Presidential election, most Americans have picked up on Hillary’s strong debate skills and Trump’s awkward body language and aggression. Americans’ reactions to these things and the debate in general say a lot about where we are as a country. The fact that Trump believed that he would be able to use the stories of women assaulted by Bill Clinton as “hook” to get people on his side and watching the debate shows how Americans are more focused on the drama than the actual policies of the candidates. Not that sexual assault isn’t something that should be openly and widely discussed, but at this point in the election process, a debate should be more focused on policies and ideas than family drama and personal attacks.

In a recent speech, President Obama said, “Democracy in a big, diverse country doesn’t work if you constantly demonize each other.” No candidate is getting anywhere in their campaign by commenting on the physical appearance or stability of the marriage of the other candidate. Americans should start placing more value on the person with the best and most inclusive policies instead of the one that can dig up the most dirt on the opposing candidate.

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