First Presidential Debate 2016 outline

Presidential Debate Outline

The debate video and transcript, and my source for Trump and Hillary quotes is here. (New York Times)

My bias: strongly left leaning, certainly, but self-identified Independent

full disclosure: I do reference some left-leaning sources, such as Young Turks, and Rachel Maddow.  But I am trying to keep my summation of the debate fair.  My criticisms, commentary, and conclusions, obviously, are my own beliefs, take as you will.

I will attempt to break the debate down to an outline format.  I have divvied the questions up into nine basic questions, with subquestions as I see appropriate.  Statements in quotations are direct quotes from the transcript, whereas non-quotations are my attempts at paraphrasing.  After each question, I will offer my personal opinions and criticisms, with particular regard toward ability to answer the question specifically.  I will attempt to evaluate candidates by their ability to answer the question, in terms of offering a specific solution and how to achieve that proposal.

NPR’s official fact-checking of the debate is here.

For convenience, here are quick links to each question, plus highlights:

Presidential Debate September 26th, 2016, Donald Trump versus Hillary Clinton

Moderator: Lester Holt

Planned Outline, Three Segments: Achieving Prosperity, America’s Direction, and Securing America

I. Achieving Prosperity

Lester Holt:  “We’re calling this opening segment ‘Achieving Prosperity.’  And central to that is jobs. There are two economic realities in America today. There’s been a record six straight years of job growth, and new census numbers show incomes have increased at a record rate after years of stagnation. However, income inequality remains significant, and nearly half of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.”

Question 1: Job Creation


proposing solutions: “invest in…jobs in infrastructure, in advanced manufacturing, innovation and technology, clean, renewable energy, and small business, because most of the new jobs will come from small business. We also have to make the economy fairer. …raising the national minimum wage and … equal pay for women’s work.  [and] I also want to see more companies do profit-sharing.  …paid family leave, earned sick days. …affordable child care and debt-free college.”

How to create jobs and improve income inequality:

money toward job sectors:

  • invest in infrastructure
  • advanced manufacturing
  • innovation and technology
  • renewable energy
  • small business

improving work conditions:

  • raise national minimum wage
  • likes profit sharing
  • paid family leave
  • earned sick days
  • affordable child care


  • debt-free college

how to achieve solutions: “by having the wealthy pay their fair share and close the corporate loopholes”

Criticisms: What can the federal government, the president, actually achieve?  Likely investments in infrastructure, and raising the federal minimum wage.  It could alter how FAFSA works regarding federal student loans.  Perhaps energy tax credits.  The federal government can create federal civil service jobs.  Can the president/federal government directly effect profit-sharing, paid family leave, earned sick days, affordable child care, and direct promotion of technology and renewable energy within the private sector?  How could FAFSA be altered?  How can college be made debt-free?  What does “wealthy pay their fair share” mean specifically, increased capital gains tax and/or increased federal income tax for higher tax brackets?  And what is the likelihood of these provisions getting past Congress?  What does “close the corporate loopholes” mean and how would it be enforced?  How would this get past Congress?  Does Hillary Clinton, specifically, have conflicts of interest with regard to Wall Street?  Another major criticism, by opponents, is how much this would cost and add to the deficit.


mentioning the problem:  The problem is with outsourcing, to Mexico and other countries.  “China…[is] devaluing their currency, and there’s nobody in our government to fight them. And we have a very good fight. …Because they’re using our country as a piggy bank to rebuild China, and many other countries are doing the same thing. …Mexico…[is] building some of the biggest plants… Ford[‘s] …small car division [is outsourcing]…Thousands of jobs leaving Michigan, leaving Ohio.”

proposing solutions: “As far as child care is concerned and so many other things, I think Hillary and I agree on that. We probably disagree a little bit as to numbers and amounts and what we’re going to do … We have to renegotiate our trade deals, and we have to stop these countries from stealing our companies and our jobs.”

how to achieve solutions: “I’ll be reducing taxes tremendously, from 35 percent to 15 percent for companies, small and big businesses.”

How to create jobs and improve income inequality:

Create jobs:

  • reduce outsourcing

Improve work conditions:

  • affordable child care (a -yeah, what Clinton said- moment)

How to achieve solutions:

Tax reform:

  • reduce taxes from 35% to 15% for companies, small and big businesses (presumably income tax)


  • renegotiate trade deals

Criticisms: Ok, Trump says things are bad, but how does he intend to fix them, specifically (one of my biggest arguments levied toward Trump)?  How would outsourcing be reduced?  Bill Clinton had a proposal to offer a tax incentive to corporations who could show a net creation of jobs within the country as opposed to outside the country.  Would Trump have such a plan?  To what degree can the president/federal government effect private sector outsourcing?  likewise childcare.  Is Trump referring to federal income taxes or capital gains tax (both were actually raised, on the wealthy, by Reagan, the latter being, still, at roughly 15%)?  To what degree is “trickle-down economics,” in our current economy, proven and/or disproven?  How would trade deals be renegotiated, specifically?

Question 1b, Job Creation, rebuttals
Holt to Trump: how would he, specifically, reduce outsourcing?


  • he made a lot of money as a businessman
  • the US sucks, China’s the best, we have to do what China does
  • renegotiate trade deals
  • appears to suggest there is no import tax
  • NAFTA is bad

Holt: (repeating the question) But how would he, specifically, reduce outsourcing?


  • “stop [jobs] from leaving”
  • have import taxes
  • “special interests want [jobs] to leave”

Criticisms: So, in short…
Trump, how would you keep jobs from leaving?
I would keep jobs from leaving.
Yes, but how would you keep them from leaving?
I would keep them from leaving.
Yes, but how?
The U.S. sucks compared to other countries, but I think it’s important to keep jobs from leaving.
Let me get Clinton in here.

Question 1c. Job creation rebuttals continued


  • invest in clean energy: solar panels, new grid


  • solar panels a disaster, US energy policies are bad
  • “give companies incentive to expand”
  • cut regulations
  • Trump is against TPP


  • trade isn’t the only challenge to job creation/economy
  • would have a “special prosecutor”
  • Clinton claims she has increased exports

Criticisms, question one: My longer response about this, here.  But also, do we not have an import tax?  Who are the “special interests” that want jobs to leave, to which Trump is referring?  How would he reduce outsourcing?

Question 2: Defend your tax positions


  • cut regulations


  • trickle down doesn’t work


  • The current relative economic growth is a bubble and we should be weary
  • “The Fed is doing political”

Criticisms: To what degree can the president/federal government invest in renewable energy?  Have solar panels been a disaster and how?  How does Trump intent to incentivize companies to expand, apart from decreasing federal income taxes, and what does that mean?  Which regulations would he cut and how would this effect the country?  What is a “special prosecutor” and how would that work?  Trump appears to levy a lot of pessimism and criticism of the United States, but what solutions does he offer?

I’m not quite sure what “the Fed is doing political” means, but I presume Trump is referring to the Federal Reserve and it’s chair, Janet Yellen, perhaps in reference to the setting of interest rates.  According to CNBC, “[T]he Fed raised rates last December for the first time in nearly a decade but has held firm since then.”  According to this article by NPR’s Marketplace, Democrats complain that the Federal Reserve is too conservative.  (I am definitely out of my league on this topic, so will move on.)

Fact checking:  Hillary did call the TPP the “gold standard.” Their websites.  Hillary’s plan would cost a lot.

Question 3: Transparency, Tax Returns

Holt: “Mr. Trump, we’re talking about the burden that Americans have to pay, yet you have not released your tax returns. And the reason nominees have released their returns for decades is so that voters will know if their potential president owes money to — who he owes it to and any business conflicts. Don’t Americans have a right to know if there are any conflicts of interest?”


  • won’t release tax forms, because audit …and lawyers’ advice

Criticisms/ Fact-check/rebuttal: The IRA says a person can release their forms during an audit.

“I will release my tax returns — against my lawyer’s wishes — when she releases her 33,000 e-mails that have been deleted.”

Criticisms: A friend of mine pointed out to me, how can she release emails that have been deleted?  So…that’s a no on releasing tax returns then?

Also, why are Trump’s tax returns relevant?  Presidents have not always released tax returns and it is not required.  It would be relevant to know if Trump has any financial conflicts of interest.  Would tax returns show this?  Also, Clinton’s comments in this portion are only speculation, and it seems more like a low blow to attack her opponent, rather than taking a high ground of only mentioning her platform. (Trump taxes links at the end)

However, to give Trump the benefit of the doubt, he could be comparing his lack of transparency to Hillary Clinton’s lack of transparency.  In that regard, yes, the attack Clinton makes against Trump can be levied against herself.  While there may be potential scandal with Trump and charities, there are possible issues with regard to the Clinton’s charities as well.  Neither candidate is transparent.

Question 3b: Transparency, Emails


  • admits mistake, takes responsibility

Fact-checking: FBI admits this is careless but not illegal.  FBI’s release of the documents regarding the email investigation, here.  FBI Director James Comey states, “Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information” from his statement found here (


  • states that you’d learn more from financial disclosure than tax returns
  • lists his wealth, not to brag but because he says the government needs someone who knows about money
  • U.S. airports suck
  • takes advantage of the laws in place; not paying taxes is smart business acumen



Critcisms: Is the tax return argument relevant?  It is one’s personal opinion as to whether Trump’s use of laws to skirt paying workers and taxes is shirking responsibility and a poor test of character or whether it is shrewd capitalistic skill, praiseworthy business acumen, and whether either is correlative toward effectiveness as president.

II. America’s Direction

Holt: “The share of Americans who say race relations are bad in this country is the highest it’s been in decades, much of it amplified by shootings of African-Americans by police, as we’ve seen recently in Charlotte and Tulsa. Race has been a big issue in this campaign, and one of you is going to have to bridge a very wide and bitter gap.”

Question 4: How would you heal the racial divide?


mentioning the problem: Race can effect where you live, access to education, and treatment in the criminal justice system.  and guns.

proposing solutions:

  • “restore trust between communities and the police”
  • police training, techniques, emphasize force only when necessary
  • “Everyone should be respected by the law, and everyone should respect the law.”

how to achieve solutions:

  • criminal justice reform


mentioning the problem: “We have a situation where we have our inner cities, African- Americans, Hispanics are living in he’ll because it’s so dangerous.” thousands of shootings in Chicago

proposing solutions:

  • “law and order”

how to achieve solutions:

  • Stop and Frisk

Question 4b Racial Divide rebuttal/continued, Stop and Frisk:
Holt: “I do want to follow up. Stop-and-frisk was ruled unconstitutional in New York, because it largely singled out black and Hispanic young men.”  Stop and Frisk is racial profiling.


  • “It went before a judge, who was a very against-police judge.”
  • agree with Clinton on community relationships (another, yeah, what she said)
  • Chicago is dangerous
  • Dallas had good community relationships, but “bad things going on”

“But you look at Dallas, where the relationships were really studied, the relationships were really a beautiful thing, and then five police officers were killed one night very violently. So there’s some bad things going on. Some really bad things.”


  • mentions positive aspects of African American communities
  • need safety
  • need to address systemic racism
  • Stop and Frisk unconstitutional and ineffective

propose solutions:
criminal justice system reform, before, during, after:

  • prevent incarceration
  • reduce mandatory minimum sentencing
  • second chance programs
  • would like to end private prison system

gun legislation reform:

  • gun safety measures
  • comprehensive background checks
  • no guns for those on terrorist watch list and no fly lists

Question 4c, Racial Divide rebuttal/continued, implicit bias:
Holt: “Secretary Clinton, …[d]o you believe that police are implicitly biased against black people?”

Clinton: “I think implicit bias is a problem for everyone, not just police. I think, unfortunately, too many of us in our great country jump to conclusions about each other. And therefore, I think we need all of us to be asking hard questions about, you know, why am I feeling this way?”

  • implicit bias is a problem for everyone

propose solutions:

  • allocate budget money to retrain police
  • address police concerns about mental health


  • agree with Clinton about no guns for those on watchlist
  • says Clinton called young black men “superpredator”
  • defends Stop and Frisk
  • claims Democrats use the African American community for votes

Clinton: “I think Donald just criticized me for preparing for this debate. And, yes, I did. And you know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be president. ”

Criticisms:  As Colbert pointed out, it may be a trick question to ask someone how to solve the racial divide in America in two minutes.  That being said, in context, I think Hillary Clinton gave as good an answer as any.  However, it is a bit too vague to say “improve community relationships.”  Hillary mentioned several specific targets for reform from police training, several points of criminal justice reform, and gun legislation.  Trump stuck by Stop and Frisk, and echoed Hillary (though credit given, considering the GOP platform) on no guns for those on terrorist watchlists.

Fact-checking: Stop and Frisk was deemed unconstitutional, but I guess still is legal, CNN source.
Ineffective? stats?

Trump’s statement of “very against police judge,” apart from being atrocious grammar, seems to imply that the judge was inherently biased and the judicial ruling was corrupted.  Would Trump respect decisions of the court?

Trump claimed that the Democrats use and abuse African American communities for votes.  Whether or not this may be true, in the spirit of fairness, one then needs to ask what is the GOP track record regarding African American communities?

I felt Hillary’s “prepared” soundbite was forced and shoe-horned in.

Question 5: The Birther conspiracy theory


  • “I was the one who got him to produce the birth certificate.”
  • cites media
  • mentions ISIS (apropos of nothing)

Question 5b continued:
Holt: “The birth certificate was produced in 2011. You’ve continued to tell the story and question the president’s legitimacy in 2012, ’13, ’14, ’15…”


  • maintains that he produced the birth certificate
  • Trump claims Hillary Clinton questioned this too

Criticisms: Clinton was in on this? really?  Trump appears to be using his birther claim as evidence that he is good at producing results.  This not only seems wholly lacking in self-awareness, not only racist, and not only egotistical, but lacking in a basic sense of logic, a disregard for fact, and ignorance of the concept of productivity.  (Clinton is not innocent, but I’ll get to that.) (also, aside, how come Ted Cruz, who was actually born in Canada, never fully got the birther treatment?  Is Canada more American than Hawaii?)

Question 5c continued:
Holt: “But we’re talking about racial healing in this segment. What do you say to Americans, people of color who…”


  • “I say nothing.”

“When you talk about healing, I think that I’ve developed very, very good relationships over the last little while with the African-American community. I think you can see that. And I feel that they really wanted me to come to that conclusion.”
Trump maintains that he got the president to produce his birth certificate and that this was a “great service” to the country and to the president.

Criticisms: This part still speaks for itself.

Question 5d continues, history of racism

“Donald started his career back in 1973 being sued by the Justice Department for racial discrimination because he would not rent apartments in one of his developments to African-Americans[.]”

  • quotes and cites Michelle Obama’s speech at the DNC


  • states that Hillary Clinton disrespected Obama, implies she’s duplicitous
  • “We settled the suit with zero — with no admission of guilt. …that was a lawsuit brought against many real estate firms, and it’s just one of those things.”
  • opened a great club in Florida


I think Hillary Clinton’s use of the Michelle Obama quote was a dig at the Melania Trump plagiarism incident, which seems a bit tacky.

Of course the lawsuit was settled with no admission of guilt.  Isn’t that how settlements work?  Trump’s statement that it’s “just one of those things,” coupled with implying this was a common occurence at many real estate places, does not help his argument, but rather hinder it.

However, if Clinton is going to reference that Trump began his career with a history of not renting to African Americans, one could point out that Hillary Clinton began her career campaigning for Barry Goldwater, who was pro-segregation and against the Civil Rights Act.  And this is not bringing into account LGBT equality.  Both candidates have a dodgy history regarding bigotry and civil rights.


So both candidates were bad in the past.  So one would have to either look at their overall record, or what their current position is (depending on one’s personal opinion of which is more valid).  Do we want to get into this?  Let’s say, David Duke, for starters.

The best thing you could say about Trump, in this regard, and this is pure speculation, is that he is actually not as racist as he projects, but is consciously fueling and using racism propagandistically to win votes and power.  which could be worse.

III. Securing America

Holt:  “We want to start with a 21st century war happening every day in this country. Our institutions are under cyber attack, and our secrets are being stolen.”

Question 6: Who’s behind the cyber attacks?  How should we fight it?



  • independent hackers – info. for money


  • states, ex. Russia
  • organs of states


  • “wreak havoc”
  • collect information
  • “probing,” to see how far they can go

how to fight it:

  • give the message that we have the capacity to fight it
  • we don’t want to use this, but we will

attack against Trump:

  • that he invited Russia to hack us
  • that he’s unfit


rebuttal to “unfit”:

  • generals endorse him, ICE endorses him

who commits cyber attacks:

  • don’t know, Russia, China, fat person, we don’t know

how to fight it:

“As far as the cyber, I agree to parts of what Secretary Clinton said,” but our cyber security is not as good as others
“get tough on cyber”


  • his 10 year old son is good at computers

mentioning problems:

  • ISIS is better than us with their use of the internet
  • “the security aspect of cyber is tough …hardly doable”
  • we’re not doing a good job throughout our “governmental society” and “cyber is one of them”
  • conclusion: U.S. online security is bad

Question 6b, rebuttals, how to attack ISIS

how to attack ISIS:

  • online tech.: work with tech. companies to prevent ISIS using the internet for recruitment etc.
  • military force: “intensify air strikes”
  • diplomacy and foreign policy: “support our Arab and Kurdish partners to be able to actually take out ISIS in Raqqa”
  • strategy/plans: currently targeting ISIS in Iraq, then target ISIS in Syria
  • be aware that ISIS has foreign aid
  • take out ISIS leadership: took out bin Laden, focus on taking out Baghdadi
  • “disrupt their propaganda efforts online”

Criticisms: I don’t think there is conclusive proof that Russia hacked the Democratic National Convention, but it is generally confirmed by a few sources.   Trump may have been joking when he asked Russia to hack Hillary’s emails, but even if it was a joke, is that something to joke about?  Technically, isn’t he joking about treason?  In any case, it would appear that Trump does not take cyber hacking seriously as either a real or harmful act.  Granted, both candidates’ answers on how to fight cyber crime were vague, with Hillary saying that the U.S. has a powerful capacity it might have to use and Trump saying that we have to be “tough on cyber.”  Again, perhaps the specifics of what the U.S. does have to fight cyber crime are classified.  In any case, Hillary’s response is to use a show of force.  Trump said he agreed with Hillary (about “the cyber”), except that he said that America’s cyber security capabilities were worse than other countries.  Since that’s the opposite of what Clinton said, what exactly did Trump agree with her about?  (yes we need to do something about it, but we lack the ability to do anything about it?  if so, that’s a null statement)  I think Clinton was a little vague, but had a legitimate answer.  I think Trump showed that he has no idea what he’s talking about, with regard to cyber security.

A second point would be to ask whether or not bringing ISIS up was relevant to the question.  Given that ISIS does use social media and the internet for various purposes, it may fall under the realm of the question.  To that end, Trump only mentioned a problem, rather than any solutions to combat it.  I thought Hillary’s several point plan with regard to fighting ISIS was very specific and thorough.

Holt: “You mention ISIS, and we think of ISIS certainly as over there, but there are American citizens who have been inspired to commit acts of terror on American soil, the latest incident, of course, the bombings we just saw in New York and New Jersey, the knife attack at a mall in Minnesota, in the last year, deadly attacks in San Bernardino and Orlando. I’ll ask this to both of you. Tell us specifically how you would prevent homegrown attacks by American citizens, Mr. Trump?”

Question 7: preventing domestic attacks


mentioning problems:

  • claims that ISIS was formed by Hillary Clinton and President Obama because of the early withdrawal of soldiers from Iraq
  • “we should have taken the oil”

answering the question: ?

how to prevent domestic attacks:

  • “intelligence surge”
  • work with Europe, Middle East, other allies
  • work with NATO
  • cooperate with Muslim nations and communities
  • says Trump was for the war in Iraq


  • anti-Iran deal
  • Middle East a mess due to Clinton
  • the 28 countries of NATO aren’t paying their fair share
  • doesn’t like NATO, NATO is obsolete, NATO doesn’t focus on terror
  • does like NATO, NATO is working on terror
  • insults NY Times
  • has a “winning temperament”
  • ask Sean Hannity
  • goes on a rant/tangent


  • the countries of NATO did go to Afghanistan for us
  • Iran was “weeks away” from getting a bomb, due to fuel cycle, facilities, centrifuges
  • supported tough sanctions on Iran
  • pro-Iran deal, diplomatic coalition
  • if you don’t like the Iran deal, what’s your solution?
  • says Trump is “cavalier” about nuclear weapons

“I saw Donald saying that there were some Iranian sailors on a ship in the waters off of Iran, and they were taunting American sailors who were on a nearby ship. He said, you know, if they taunted our sailors, I’d blow them out of the water and start another war. That’s not good judgment.”


  • that wouldn’t start a war
  • other countries should pay us more for defending them
  • “Nuclear is the single greatest threat.”
  • “we lose on everything”
  • “We can’t defend Japan”
  • “As far as the nuclear is concerned, I agree.” (that it’s a great threat)

Criticisms:  Where to begin?

Did Trump answer the question of how to fight domestic attacks?  What does “we should have taken the oil” mean?  It seems he has a very simplistic view of foreign policy and the Middle East conflict.

NBC foreign correspondent on Trump’s foreign policy here.  (Jimmy Dore, from his show, mentions what he thinks of Trump’s “take the oil” plan, though it’s mostly an anti-Matt Lauer rant.)

The withdrawal date from Iraq and Afghanistan was set by George W. Bush.  I’m sure the creation of ISIS is a very complicated subject that can not be boiled down to one or two simplistic causes, even if policies from the Obama administration had a hand in it.  The question was domestic attacks, again…

Hillary Clinton did have some reasonable answers.  However, what does “intelligence surge” mean?  Again, is it a vague answer, or is it purposefully vague due to classified information?  Her answer generally revolves around collecting intelligence and diplomacy with foreign nations.

Trump may have been on record as having been for the war in Iraq.  (again, a lot of people were, so it would have been wiser to admit it than rant trying to disprove his own words)  But wasn’t Hillary Clinton also for the war in Iraq?  Again, this seemed a moot point.  I figure it was a move on Hillary’s part to unnerve Trump.  If so, it worked.  But it is not relevant to our current situation.   I guess it is fair that Hillary should “get some zingers” against Trump, as all he did was attack her, but, in my perfect world, candidates would stand on their policies and not resort to mudslinging.  All I can say, I suppose, is that Hillary’s “zingers” toward Trump weren’t so much attacks as just throwing his own words against him, so it’s Trump against Trump.  The problem, I guess, with this tactic is that the American people have heard Trump’s words.  He started his campaign calling Mexicans rapists and saying prisoners of war are cowards, as well as numerous other things, and always doubling down, rather than apologizing, and he won the nomination – and half the country’s vote – on that rhetoric.  Therefore, proving that Trump is bigoted and a liar really isn’t going to hurt him – unfortunately.  (insert all the rants that Hillary is also a big liar, but I can’t see her in the same category as Trump)  moving on…

Trump is anti-Iran deal, Hillary is pro-Iran deal.  That’s fair.  And Americans are clearly divided on this controversial issue.  I was personally pro-Iran deal, but I see the arguments on either side.  One response pro-Iran deal people have is, ok, can you propose a better solution?  In general, for many things, it is far easier to criticize than it is to propose solutions.  But again, I did see arguments either way.  Also, was Iran weeks away, as they have been saying for years?  Still, the deal was passed and implemented.  So, it is also somewhat of a moot point.

Where does Trump stand on NATO?  It sounds like he is saying he’s against it and for it.  Trump has a history of insulting the media, which is part of our first amendment (which Trump loves to trample on).  moving on…  The “ask Sean Hannity” rant.  Of course it’s not relevant, but it is an example of Trump’s temperament.  and, of course, the “winning temperament” line.  My criticism against Hillary is that I found her smug.  She was probably trying to keep from laughing.  If only she hadn’t had all those smug smiles.  But still, I think it’s fairly self-evident who, of the two, is more composed and diplomatic.  Who would we want to be the face of our country?

and then there’s Trump’s lack of knowledge on nuclear armament.  But we’re getting there.  And we’re almost done.

Holt: “On nuclear weapons, President Obama reportedly considered changing the nation’s longstanding policy on first use. Do you support the current policy?”

Question 8: Do you support first use?


  • Russia has newer things than us
  • would not do first strike
  • can’t take anything off the table
  • anti-Iran deal (again)


  • reassure allies
  • defends Iran deal
  • “We cannot let those who would try to destabilize the world to interfere with American interests and security…to be given any opportunities at all”


  • Hillary could have prevented the creation of ISIS
  • it’s tougher to defeat ISIS
  • “We cannot be the policemen of the world. We cannot protect countries all over the world.”
    Clinton could have done things, she had “great power,” but she won’t fix anything

Trump and nuclear triad:

Rachel Maddow on Trump’s nuclear knowledge:

Criticisms:  It appears that Trump doesn’t know anything about nuclear policy, which is scary.  And his answer to the question is both yes and no.  Hillary Clinton reassures allies and responds to Trump, but I think her answer with, “We cannot let those who would try to destabilize the world to interfere with American interests and security…to be given any opportunities at all,” is a pro first use answer.

Trump’s “we can not be the policemen of the world” is an answer.  It is a pro-isolationist answer.  There are arguments either way for the ethics and pragmatism of isolationism.  Rather than delving into whether or not isolationism is the course we want to take, I would ask whether isolationism is possible in this day and age, given, among other things, a global economy, just to start.

Rachel Maddow’s response as to why Hillary needed to reassure our foreign allies.

Holt:  “Mr. Trump, this year Secretary Clinton became the first woman nominated for president by a major party. Earlier this month, you said she doesn’t have, quote, “a presidential look.” She’s standing here right now. What did you mean by that?”

Question 9: implying that Trump is sexist


  • She doesn’t have the stamina

“Well, as soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a cease-fire, a release of dissidents, an opening of new opportunities in nations around the world, or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina.”


  • “Hillary has experience, but it’s bad experience.”


  • mentions Trump’s insults against women


  • she put bad commercials out about me
  • “I was going to say something…extremely rough to Hillary…I can’t do it.”

Question 10: Will you accept the outcome of the election?

Clinton: yes


  • the nation is troubled
  • these people we were going to deport became citizens, perhaps they “pressed the wrong button”
  • will support outcome


Criticisms:  Ok, we’re done.  (with this debate at least)  The last question was a throw away question, likely just to give conclusion to the debate.  I thought Hillary’s last remarks had more decorum than Trump’s last remarks, but it still was just nice-sounding political talk.  (though, what else would one say in that context?)  In conclusion, vote how you feel is best.  the end.

The second to last question was probably unfair, in the sense that it targeted Trump specifically.  It was also not exactly relevant to foreign or domestic policy.  Though, as with the race question, large percentages of the population probably want a president who won’t insult them, especially if this president is supposed to represent the nation as a whole.  Again, I don’t feel sorry for Trump, because he’s brought this on himself; all his opponents have to do is use his own words against him.  In classic Trump fashion, he never apologizes, but doubles down.  Following the debate – in addition to saying he won it – I think he added “sex tape” to the mix of things he’s slung against this one woman.  But, as I’ve said before, he’s been saying these things since the beginning.  If it didn’t hurt him then, I doubt it will hurt him now.

I did like Hillary’s impromptu response to the stamina accusation.

To brag that you didn’t use a particular insult costs you the moral high ground you were trying to save.

really brief debate summation, in my opinion:

On jobs:

Trump wants to decrease taxes for the wealthiest, reduce regulations, the standard job creator/trickle-down argument.  Also renegotiate trade deals.  Hillary is in favor of creating jobs in infrastructure and manufacturing, as well as employee benefits, which sound appealing to people but could be costly for the budget.  Both are stating party line answers here.

On transparency: Trump and tax returns, Hillary and emails

Both fail here.  In the debate, Hillary admitted her mistake, Trump deflected.

Racial Divide:

Trump supports stop and frisk, even when ruled unconstitutional.  Hillary proposes several measures for criminal justice reform.  Hillary mentions Trump’s racist past.  Hillary herself has a dodgy record regarding civil rights.

Cyber hacking internationally:

Hillary would use a show of force of U.S. cyber security strength.  Trump says the U.S. has poor cyber security.


Hillary mentions a multi-faceted way of combating ISIS online and on the ground.  Trump says the U.S. is weaker than it should be and ISIS will be tough to fight.

Domestic attacks:

Hillary would have an “intelligence surge,” work with Muslim communities, and work with foreign allies.  Trump thinks we need to get tough on cyber, his son knows computers, and we should be more isolationist regarding other countries.

First Use Nuclear Policy:

Trump is for and against it, or doesn’t know what it is.  Hillary appears to be for it.

Foreign Policy in general:

Hillary wants to work diplomatically with other nations.  Trump thinks other countries don’t pay us enough and we shouldn’t be the policemen of the world, an isolationist stance.


Hillary is for equal pay for women.  Trump stands by his comments fat-shaming women.


Trump mostly pointed out problems, rather than solutions.  And he basically skewered the U.S.  With regard to American economy, Trump said that our current economic prosperity is a bubble and we should be weary, that all of our jobs are being outsourced, that our trade deals are bad, implied our Federal Reserve is corrupt, and that we are non-competitive with other countries, namely China.  With regard to energy, he said our energy policies are bad and that solar panels were a disaster.  With regard to our infrastructure, he said our airports are like those in underdeveloped nations and Russia has newer nuclear equipment than we do.  In terms of tax reform and legislation, he’s implied that if it is unfair that he hasn’t paid any taxes, it is because the legal system in place, the legislation and tax code, is skewed and corrupt.  And him using it legally to his advantage shows clever business acumen.  According to him, our immigration policies are also terrible.  Domestically, inner cities are hell, Chicago is dangerous and “bad things” are happening in Dallas.  We do not have adequate police force, nor organization in our country.

According to Trump, our cyber security is terrible and inadequate.  ISIS has better command of social media, cyber security, and online propaganda than America.  We fail to have decent and fair deals with other allied countries.  Our foreign policy is bad.  Our nuclear weaponry is worse than other countries.  And we are a troubled nation.

How does he plan to resolve that?  By being rich and by virtue of not being a politician.  At least that seems to be the gist of everything.

Rachel Maddow on “Trump campaigns on ‘America is Bad’ message.”

anyways, so …well, and there we have it.



Overall impressions from Seth Myers, Young Turks, Saturday Night Live:


Related Links:

**Trump taxes and business:

“Buffett Just Released His Own Tax Data to Hammer Trump”
Yahoo Finance, Bloomberg, Lynnley Browning, Noah Buhayar, 10/10/16, (

“Why seeing Trump’s tax returns really matters”
YouTube, PBS News Hour, PBS, 9/29/16 (

“‘NYT’ Report: Trump’s Tax Records Show He May Not Have Owed Taxes For 18 Years”
NPR, Sarah McCammon, Emma Bowman, 10/2/16, (
was said that Trump had fiduciary responsibility, no illegal doing

“Trump Makes No Apologies For Tax History: ‘I Have Brilliantly Used Those Laws'”
NPR, Morning Edition, Scott Detrow, 10/4/16,  (

“Donald Trump Tax Records Show He Could Have Avoided Taxes for Nearly Two Decades, The Times Found”
The New York Times,  David Barstow, Susanne Craig, Russ Buettner and Megan Twohey, 10/1/16, (
1995 taxes, declared $916 million loss to possibly avoid up to 18 years of taxes

“Donald Trump, Those Taxes And ‘The New York Times'”
NPR, David Folkenflik, 10/3/16, (
…however, NY Times received info. anonymously and made speculations, could have obtained and/or published material illegally, one defender who said the journalists did nothing wrong is a Clinton supporter…

“Is It Fair That Businesses Get To ‘Carry Forward’ Their Losses?”
NPR, Marilyn Geewax, 10/4/16,  (
no loophole in this case, explains carry forward

“How Donald Trump Lost $916 Million”
NPR, Joel Rose, 10/4/16, (

“What do three pages of Trump tax returns show us?”
YouTube and PBS, PBS News Hour, 10/2/16 (,
on YouTube, on

** Trump business in general:

“Trump’s Financial Moves In The ’90s: ‘Genius’ Or ‘Colossal Failure’?”
NPR, Marilyn Geewax, 10/3/16 (
small summary of business losses in ’90s

“Donald Trump: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)”
YouTube, Last Week Tonight, John Oliver, 2/28/16 (
original Trump piece

“New York Attorney General: Trump Charitable Foundation Violated The Law”
NPR, All Things Considered, Joel Rose, 10/3/16 (

**Republican party divisions:

“Trump tape reveals religious right hypocrisy”
CNN Opinion, CNN, William Barber, 10/10/16 (

“How Trump’s Candidacy Has Divided Conservative Media”
NPR, Fresh Air, Terry Gross interviewing Robert Draper from New York Times, 10/3/16 (

“Donald Trump Nativist Speech Follows Dark US Pattern”
YouTube, Rachel Maddow, MSNBC, 9/1/16 (
(see above), party split opens up space for secretive nativist extremist groups, historical pattern

** other:

“Clinton, Trump Present Starkly Different Messages On The Middle Class”
NPR, All Things Considered, Tamara Keith, 10/3/16 (
“The difference in the way Clinton and Trump talk about the middle class is stark. For Clinton, it’s a story of hope. For Trump, it is a story of loss.” (Keith)

“NPR Battleground Map: Clinton Tide Rises Again”
NPR, Domenico Montanaro, 10/5/16, (
visual map

“Trump: Everyone Likes Me, Even The Klan!”
YouTube, The Young Turks, 8/30/15 (

and if you’re a glutton for punishment,
a link to more links





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