The First Presidential Debate


Nora Thompson, Cougart Editor

On Monday September 26th, at Hofstra University in New York, the two presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton took to the stage to have their first debate. The candidates started by introducing themselves and what they planned on doing for the country if elected.

Let’s start with their policies. Donald Trump told the viewers that his economic policies would be “the biggest tax cut since Reagan.”  Basically, he would be cutting taxes for the American people, possibly giving an unfair advantage to the 1% of wealthier people or it might stimulate the economy by allowing more money to go back into it. Clinton countered that his policies were “Trumped up, trickled down economics.” Her economic policy is to raise the taxes for the wealthy and make it so that everyone would be paying evenly. This could help close the wealth gap in America or it might just cause the 1% to leave America and take their business elsewhere, potentially harming the economy. It’s up to the American people to decide which policy is best.

On the subject of social issues, the most recent police shooting in Charlotte, North Carolina came up. Hillary Clinton laid out a plan for preventing more shootings and helping to heal racial tensions in the US; her plan was to have better training for police, criminal justice reform, and gun control. Donald Trump told the US people that he wanted more “law and order”, then added he wanted to help protect the inner city areas, he wanted more people to have guns to keep the peace, he also wanted to continue the controversial practice of “stop and frisk” which he said had helped to lower the murder rate in New York City. Both candidates agreed that America needs better relationships between police and community.

With the internet becoming an increasingly large part of our every day society, Lester Holt asked about home grown attacks on America through the internet and terrorist plots. Donald Trump took the opportunity to talk about terrorist attacks that could come from an American rather than a Russian.  He said, “It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK?” Trump didn’t really answer the question, he went on to talk about the Iraq war and claimed to never support it. Clinton laid out a plan for her administration: starting with an intelligence serge, working closer with our allies in NATO, and closer working relationships with Muslims.

Outside of policy, both candidates did their fair share of bashing each other. Trump told Clinton that  she didn’t have the “stamina” to be president, Clinton shot back with the fact that she has traveled extensively and spent 11 hours in front of a Congressional Hearing.  Lester Holt asked about Trump’s tax returns that he never released. Trump claimed that he was being audited and couldn’t do it.  Holt then said that he could still release them, that a member of the IRS okayed it. Trump retaliated by offering to go against his lawyer and account’s advice and release them in exchange for Clinton’s 33,000 emails that were deleted.

Many people feel that Clinton won the debate, that she was more poised and spoke about policy much better than Trump did. Some people though felt it was unfair for Trump, as Lester Holt asked more questions that made Trump look bad, than Hillary, such as he never mentioned Bengazi or the Clinton Foundation.

Americans face a tough decision this November; many feel they will have to decide between the lesser of two evils, some are dead set on one candidate. The most important thing that we can do this election season is register to vote because if you’re able to, you can decide the next four years.