- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 13 October 2016
- Written by JASMINE RAMOS | POLITICS CO-EDITOR
On Sunday night, 66.5 million eople tuned in to watch the second debate between presidential nominees Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
A part of the election cycle since 1992, the second debate has a town hall setting. The candidates were away from the podium and have the ability to answer questions from audience members. Other questions were taken from social media, or asked by the moderators, CNN’s Anderson Cooper and ABC News’ Martha Raddatz.
Lorna Schmidt, Director of Advising, said, “I felt that the two of them were trying to convince each other of their point, and those are the last people they should be arguing to. They should be arguing to the audience. You never going to convince the person you’re debating, its those people our there you have to convince.”
Dr. Stephen Chapman, Assistant Professor of Political Science said, “There was definitely a change in behavior from the first debate to the second for Trump. This is not surprising, as Clinton was seen as the winner of the first debate. This is similar to 2012 where Obama was seen as losing the first debate and altered his strategy for the second. Trump was clearly more combative and forceful during the second debate. This is a product of ‘the tape’ being released and his slipping position in the polls. Clinton was more consistent from the first to the second debate, again a product of her generally seen as being the winner of the first.”
Many of the questions had traditional topics to them, asking about clean energy and Syria, however, many centered around scandals that have revolved around their campaigns.
Dr. Chapman explains, “Most political campaigns will have their scandals from both sides. This offers candidates a way to talk about their opponent with an eye to the voters; it acts as a shortcut that voters can take to signal their support. These issues are normally brought up in the debate portion of the campaign, so I do not find it very surprising.”
One of the first questions asked to Trump was related to a 2005 recording of Trump using “locker room talk,” saying because of his fame he is allowed to inappropriately touch women.
Trump responded with, “Certainly I’m not proud of it. But this is locker room talk. You know, when we have a world where you have ISIS chopping off heads [...], we should get on to much more important things and much bigger things.”
The women involved in the tape is Arianne Zucker, a soap opera actress, who responded to the tape by saying, “How we treat one another, whether behind closed doors, locker rooms or face to face, should be done with kindness, dignity and respect. Unfortunately, there are too many people in power who abuse their position and disregard these simple principles and are rewarded for it.”
Clinton was later questioned on Wikileaks releasing excerpts of her paid speeches, and in response to the paid speeches she said she needed a public and private position on certain issues. Raddatz asked the question from the Bipartisan Open Debate Coalition’s online forum, “Is it okay for politicians to be two-faced? Is it acceptable for a politician to have a private stance on issues?”
She responded with, “Our intelligence community just came out and said in the last few days that the Kremlin, (Putin) and the Russian government, are directing the attacks, the hacking on American accounts to influence our election. And WikiLeaks is part of that, as are other sites where the Russians hack information, we don’t even know if it’s accurate information, and then they put it out.”
When asked about how the two candidates differed from the first debate, Schmidt said, “Trump had a couple answers to questions more prepared than in the first round debate. He was less antsy and looked more comfortable being able to walk around. Clinton seemed a bit less prepared.”
Aditi Vast, a senior communication student, said, “I have to commend Hillary on how she’s been able to stay sane and straight-faced when having had to debate with a person who doesn’t understand how to properly compose them-self. To also have to see the media let Trump get away with the things he says and does astounds me, especially when his main defense is to condemn the husband of the Democratic Presidential Candidate for his actions from a decade ago.”
Vast continued, “There’s a stark difference between the two and it scares me to see some people still siding with what appears to be an over-grown child who’s using grade school tactics in a very serious matter.”
The debate ended with a high note with the question, “regardless of the current rhetoric, would either of you name one positive thing that you respect in one another?”
Clinton answered first and said she respected his children, and “his children are incredibly able and devoted, and I think that says a lot about Donald.”
Trump responded with, “She doesn’t quit. She doesn’t give up. I respect that. I tell it like it is. She’s a fighter. I disagree with much of what she’s fighting for. I do disagree with her judgment in many cases. But she does fight hard, and she doesn’t quit, and she doesn’t give up. And I consider that to be a very good trait.”
The third and final debate will be held on Oct. 19, at 9 p.m.