The First Presidential Debate: A Quick Overview

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On September 26th, Hillary Clinton went head to head with Donald Trump for the first time in the 2016 election, here on Long Island, at Hofstra University. They came in with the goal to show America where they stood in terms of major national issues and to improve their poll numbers in an incredibly tight race.
The first topic the candidates addressed was trade and the economy. Trump began by saying how he wants jobs to stop leaving the midwest, and how he favors tax cuts for businesses and the rich. Clinton responded with her plans to try and bring work back to America and create jobs through better trade deals and improving the energy sector. Trump hit back by criticizing her and her husband’s support of NAFTA, which took away American jobs. When Clinton criticized him for his lack of support for clean energy and his claim that climate change was a hoax, he denied that he ever claimed that. However, his campaign is now facing heat because he recently deleted a tweet where he did indeed claim that.
Adding onto this, Clinton began to attack him for not releasing his tax returns, which he claimed was because he is under audit (although no rule prevents someone under audit from releasing tax returns). When she accused him of benefitting and rooting for the housing crash of 2008 and building his corporation on the backs of the American people, he responded by saying that it was “just business.” He also went on to say that he was smart for not paying federal income taxes because he felt as though the money was squandered by the government.
Next, the candidates addressed race relations. Clinton talked about how the relationship between people of color and the community could be improved by coming together and through community policing. Trump emphasized how the political process has failed the African-American community and detailed how he would bring back stop-and-frisk, which Clinton then called ineffective and unconstitutional. She also brought up how Trump has a long record of racism, especially exemplified by the birther movement.
The debate was finished by talking about security, including cyber security and preventing homegrown terror. Clinton talked about how she wants to focus on getting rid of ISIS in the Middle East, and how she wants to prevent people on terrorist watch lists from buying guns. In response to Clinton’s statement about how Trump called on Russian hackers to target her email server, Trump explained that he wasn’t sure which country carried out the hack. Moving onto the topic of ISIS, Trump claimed that Clinton’s foreign policy decisions created the group, and that she has been fighting ISIS for her “entire adult life” and hasn’t done anything to stop them (he emphasized taking their oil). Clinton responded by saying that this wasn’t possible and that his plan to fight terrorism was non-existent, as well as highlighting his support of the Iraq war, which he denied.
By the end of the debate, the attacks became more personal. Trump claimed that Clinton did not have the stamina or the personality to be president. She fired back by calling this out as sexist and giving examples (such as the nuclear deal with Iran) to show her diplomacy skills.
In my opinion, Hillary Clinton was much more well-spoken and prepared for this debate. She gave clear, concise answers where Trump was rambling and vague. We’ll see what the polls say moving forward, and what happens at the next debate.