On September 26th, America witnessed the first presidential debate of 2016 between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and business mogul Donald Trump. Lester Holt of NBC moderated that momentous debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. The debate received a monumental amount of attention from the public; according to Nielsen, the event garnered 84 million television views and 17.1 million tweets. The event was the most watched and tweeted about presidential debate in history.
The debate consisted of three topics including: “Securing America,” “America’s Direction” and “Achieving Prosperity”. Candidates were questioned about job growth, international trade, tax plans, criminal justice reform, and cybersecurity. There were also specific questions about Trump’s failure to release his tax returns and his involvement in the birther movement against President Obama.
The moderator, Lester Holt, brought up one of the most engaging questions of the debate when asking, “How do you heal the divide?”. Clinton responded, “I want to see private prisons ended in the state system”. She added, “In my first budget, we would put money into the federal budget to help us deal with implicit bias training of police officers”. Trump responded by advocating for stop-and-frisk policies enforced by police; policies that have been proved unconstitutional. Although both candidates failed to address race relations directly, likely in fear of alienating middle America, Clinton provided a sound solution to an issue affecting racial minorities while Trump provided a solution that has failed racial minorities in the past.
Overall, Hillary Clinton demonstrated superior preparation and presentation in this first presidential debate. After Donald Trump criticized Clinton for remaining at home prior to the debate Clinton replied, “I think Donald just criticized me for preparing for this debate, and yes, I did. You know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be president”. Trump’s stark criticism proved to be ineffective against his poised opponent. Although the policy content discussed is inherently debatable, this debate was a PR victory for Clinton.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) September 27, 2016