After months of a polarizing political campaign season, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton faced off Sept. 26 in an uninterrupted 90-minute debate. A Chronicle student panel analyzed the performances of the two candidates.
The polls had the two candidates neck-and-neck in battleground states going in, and while round one was not a transformative debate, itwas a step forward for Clinton to expand her base and an opportunity for Trump to maintain his.
The debate was split into three main topics: Achieving Prosperity, America’s direction and securing America.
In the first segment, Clinton laid out specific policy plans about jobs to grow the economy and deal with income inequality. She advocated taxing the wealthy and investing in infrastructure, child care and renewable energy.
Trump came in confidently explaining his plan to cut taxes to keep American companies from sending jobs to other countries. Clinton seized the opportunity to showcase Trump’s wealthy backgroundas the reason for his success saying, “He started his business with $14 million borrowed from his father and he really does believe that the more you help wealthy people the better off we’ll be and we’ll go from there. I don’t buy that.”
Trump used his success as a model for what the country’s economy should look like. He made a strong case that Clinton’s 30-year record in politics has not produced results, particularly with her past support for trade deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), both of which have been unpopular among blue-collar workers.
Trump used his key argument early; being an outsider in government, he promised to cut through bureaucracy and red tape in Washington in order to get the economy moving.
Regarding off shore money from American companies, he said, “There is two and a half trillion dollars … that we can’t bring into our country, and with a little leadership you’d get it in here very quickly and it could be put to use on the inner cities and lots of other things and it would be beautiful, but we have no leadership.”
Although the debate was not a game changer, Clinton appeared better prepared to make her case for the presidency. Our panel agreed that this was a win for the former secretaryof state. The start of round two between Trump and Clinton will be the Oct. 9 town hall-style debate in St. Louis.