As I watched a recording of Monday night's debate the other day, the one thought that kept popping into my head was "is this really the best we can do?" One candidate is a moronic fascist who flirts with white supremacy, the other represents everything wrong with the current system. As I've said in previous posts...I've decided to vote 3rd party in this election. So here's what I thought of it about this debate, over a couple glasses of wine to numb the mental pain.
On Economics and Trade
This is the part of the debate at the beginning where I felt like Donald Trump was at his strongest...and not for the reason you may think. He took the populist approach because he knows Hillary Clinton can't defend herself on issues such as NAFTA or even TPP. She has pretended to be against the TPP during the election in an attempt to appeal to her base, especially Bernie Sanders supporters. However I don't know anyone who truly believes that she won't sign off on the TPP if she were to become President.
Trump talked about how he believed NAFTA may have been the worst trade deal ever signed in American history and hit Clinton on her calling the Trans-Pacific Partnership 'the new gold standard. He talked about the devastation in towns like Detroit where manufacturing jobs left the city and caused them to become the "messes" they are today.
The problem with all of this is, Trump is NOT a champion of the middle class! This is the same man who called a $1 million loan from his father small! Not to mention all of the people he's known to have scammed and swindled in the past. Numerous people from workers to fellow businessmen have at some point in time felt the sting of a Trump scam. Trust me, his campaign will be yet another example of his fraudulent charade.
You see, Trump's plan is really the same old Republican economics, which is really capitalism on steroids which has led to a growing plutocracy of corporations and "corporate interests." No one ever asks Trump, what are your plans that are better than NAFTA and TPP? Lawrence Mishel on MSNBC with Chris Hayes recently stated that we could end offshore tax havens. He also stated we could find a way to tax corporate incomes, stating there is one trillion dollars shifted annually from the public to corporations that is not even taxed!! Donald Trump would never suggest such a solution because that would hurt him and his friends...and Hillary Clinton never would either.
Donald Trump is against raising the minimum wage among other things. So let's not fool ourselves. Trump only looked good against Hillary Clinton on trade and economics because he's not a career politician. Don't think for one second that he gives a crap about people he deems to be beneath him.
Winner: Trump, but only on a "cosmetic" level because I think a lot of people will easily be fooled into thinking Trump did better than he did. In my opinion, they're both horrendous on this issue.
On Race and Criminal Justice
This is the portion of the debate where I believe Trump looked his worst and when the overall debate began to trend against him. Once again, we see Black on Black crime being used as a justification to assault Black people. He began using dog whistle terms from the 1960's, 70's. 80's and 90's about "law and order." He doubled down on his views about Stop and Frisk, a policy that has been deemed unconstitutional and documented as racist. It's not an accident that the primary targets of such policies are Black and Brown men and women. Data already shows Whites use drugs at the same rate as Blacks, if not more in some areas..
Donald Trump bragged about the support he's receiving from police in America, such as the Fraternal Order of Police after he was asked by Lester Holt what he's going to do about racial healing in America. So his answer was that he essentially wants to do more of the same. Some of the most incendiary and controversial comments about the Black community have in fact come from various police unions. We all remember the statements made by the President of the police union in Cleveland, the city where young Tamir Rice was shot in mere seconds while playing with a toy gun, after the family settled a $6 million lawsuit. The union President stated that maybe his family should use the money to teach children about the dangers in mishandling real and fake weapons! A statement that is minor compared to even worst statements made in the past in cities around America.
I was expecting Hillary Clinton to shut him down on this, but of course I was wrong. She didn't really push back on the "law and order" rant that Trump went on. As a former Sanders supporter, it must be remembered however that Hillary Clinton was taking money from private prisons as recently as last year! She too is very much in that 'law and order' bubble.
So how can we really trust Clinton's comments at the debate about private prisons? She stated that there should not be a profit incentive for locking people in jail cells. A statement that I support and endorse 200%! She went on to state that she thinks that States should follow the Federal government in dropping support for the use of private prisons. This had an impact on the private prison stocks of Corrections Corporation of America and Geo Group, However, how do we know for sure that this isn't a stunt akin to her 180 degree shift on the TPP? The answer is we can't be sure.
Winner: Hillary Clinton. Only because Trump came off as a dictator waiting to happen.
On War and Foreign Policy
You see, this is exactly what I mean. Neither one of these candidates represent the type of change we need in America on many issues, but especially the issue of foreign policy. Hillary Clinton essentially wants to continue the neo-conservative agenda started under the Bush Administration and continued by Barack Obama. A failed policy and failed agenda that has done way more damage and destroyed way more lives than anyone could ever have imagined when the Iraq war began back in 2003. Not to mention the costs!
Trump however wants to continue his own right-wing lies which seeks to tie Clinton/Obama to the rise of ISIS...a false claim that has been debunked by several different entities. The problem is, Clinton is horrible on foreign policy which is why so many progressive liberals such as myself have a hard time accepting her (among a plethora of other issues).
Trump attempts to take popular positions that he knows Clinton is weak on such as Trade as mentioned above, but he tried to do the same thing with regards to his views on the invasion of Iraq. Trump argued and cut people off for several minutes as he tried to hold his claim that he didn't support it...an attempt to clearly show that he has better judgement than Clinton. Now it should be known that post-debate, Trump's claim about not supporting the invasion of Iraq has once again been proven false!
When the issue of nuclear weapons came up, Trump stepped back from his previous comments on using nukes and said that he didn't support a first strike option, but that because of North Korea, he couldn't take anything off the table. He somehow brought Japan into it and said "they should do something about [North Korea]." He then found a way to bring the Iran deal back up to continue what has been a trend on the right-wing. That trend is the clear attempt to destroy Obama's Iran deal. A deal that I personally believe to be his best foreign policy achievement. The right-wing bloodlust to attack Iran is very real and that is because Iran has been in the neo-conservative agenda for a very long time. Obama's Iran deal poses a major threat to that agenda. It should also be noted that Israel is also very much anti-Iran deal and the influence they have on our domestic and foreign politics should be a major cause of concern for Americans...especially those of us on the left. Once again however, it must be noted that both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are horrible on the issue of Israel/Palestine. We get no progress from either regardless of who becomes President when it comes to this issue. I've often wondered how much Hillary even supports the Iran deal as her overwhelming support and adoration for all things Israel is well documented.
Winner: Really...who cares at this point?
So who won? Clinton or Trump?
Well. I lean Hillary, but only slightly. Whatever bump she gets in the polls following this debate, I doubt it will widen the gap between the two candidates too much. In the next two debates, she's going to have to attack him harder. For some reason, she seems reserved when debating Trump compared to her tone and at times seeming disrespect for Barack Obama in the 2008 race when they debated back then. She didn't hit him on the Trump Foundation or Trump University, though she did bring up his bad business practices and portrayed him as a con artist...to which he had very little to say in defense of her attacks.