- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 28 September 2016
- Written by BRENDEN GREVE | CO-POLITICS EDITOR
Last night was the first of three presidential debates between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton held at Hofstra University and aired on CNN— where more than 80 million people tuned into the debate between the two candidates, making it the most watched televised presidential debate in United States history.
Sparks flew early and often during the debate but the candidates did not spar as hard as many would have thought. Dr. Stephen Chapman, a professor of political science, said that this wasn’t unusual because “the first debate is usually about feeling each other out.”
He referred to President Barrack Obama’s performance in the first presidential debate against Mitt Romney in 2012. He said, “Many people have said that Barrack Obama came out flat and lost the first debate but he took that debate to feel out his opponent and come up with strategy.”
Nonetheless, Chapman concluded that the first debate is still important. He commented, “I think it’s crucial since it was the first time they are on the stage together after all of this campaigning.”
The debate included multiple topics and issues that were important to the candidates who are still trying to reach out to undecided voters. Both candidates were expected to be able to answer tough questions.
For Trump, the Director of the Kislak Real Estate Institute and specialist professor Peter Reinhart said, “There are several lines of questions that may prove difficult for Mr. Trump.”
Reinhart continued, “The moderator may press him for more details on several of his proposals dealing with the economy, immigration, the ‘wall,’ the Affordable Care Act, and trade agreements. So far, he has provided little detail on how he would accomplish his plans.”
Reinhart continued, “I would like to see the moderator ask him for his views on the legal and constitutional authority that would allow him to achieve his stated goals.
Additionally, Reinhart questioned the debate and said, “The issue of civil liberties and how to stop violence may come up. Mr. Trump has proposed allowing police to ‘stop and frisk’ people the police may have concerns about.”
Interestingly enough, the debate moderator, Lester Holt, pressed Trump on the issue of stop and frisk about midway through the debate.
For Secretary Clinton, Reinhart said, “I think the questions most troubling for Secretary Clinton will be those dealing with her private emails and with her statement calling Trump supporters ‘deplorables.’”
The “deplorables” statement did not come up in the debate but her emails certainly did. Trump criticized her email controversy that has followed her throughout the campaign by raising questions about why she deleted 30,000 emails and that members of her staff had pled the fifth in legal proceedings.
Trump also used the email topic when being pressured about how he had not released his tax returns to the public yet and said, “I’ll release my tax returns when she releases her emails.”
There were some mixed reviews as to who won the debate but many pundits gave the victory to Clinton. Chapman said, “I’d objectively say that Hillary Clinton won the debate. I think she put forth a more coherent platform.”
Chapman continued, “Trump tried to transfer his primary strategy of talking off the cuff into the debate last night and it didn’t work for him.”
For the next debate, the venue will be a town hall type set up where the candidates body language and mannerisms will play more of an important role. Chapman said, “Trump probably has the advantage for the next debate because he has consistently used the audience on the trail and loves getting them involved but he wasn’t able to do that last night.
Monmouth’s Political Science Club will most likely host another debate viewing party as they did last night in Anacon Hall in the Rebecca Stafford Student Center.
The viewing party had over a hundred students and Associate professor, Dr. Joseph Patten, an associate professor of political science, said, “The turnout was great and it was an overall great success.” He noted that he was especially happy about it after the Rock the Vote event also hosted by the Political Science club drew so much attention earlier in the day.
PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth University Poltical Science Club