Oct 10, 2016 (San Diego) This second debate was contentious, personal, with little policy discussion. Though there was more discipline shown by Donald J Trump than in the first debate. Secretary Hillary Clinton still managed to get under his skin a few times. On the other hand, he got under hers once. What Trump did was staunch the arterial bleed over the tape that came out over the weekend. He did show some contrition, and he also said “I am not proud to be honest with you.”
He also said “I want to be the President for all Americans,” and was confronted with positions that he has taken over immigration, islamophobia and minorities.
On the Islamophobia he was asked about it by an audience member and he justified his extreme immigration vetting. He also justified a religious test, which violates the constitution. He also stuck to his guns about law and order and “bringing back respect for law enforcement.”
On the other hand, Clinton tried to speak policy and managed to succeed a few times. More on that bellow. She was reeled in as it were when she brought up Trump’s not paying federal taxes. He said that he did indeed took advantage of a loophole in the code, carried interests, and that he is willing to get rid of it. He added that Clinton is all talk and no action, and has been that way for 30 years. While in public office she never did anything to get rid of it. Clinton countered with two things. She voted to close a few loopholes that people like Trump took advantage off, but that a single Senator cannot just impose law. There is the president as well, who has veto power. This was the only time in the whole debate she sounded defensive. Though came back at Trump nevertheless. She pointed out that he is not supporting the country, since he is not paying taxes.
Now on to foreign affairs. This is where Clinton again shone. She knew the issues inside out and Trump admitted something that struck us as odd. He said he did not understand Russia, and anybody running for that high office should understand Russia and the other three members of the United Nations Security Council. She had command of the facts, and knew the importance of going after Barghadi, in Iraq,
Wikileaks and the emails issues came out again. She essentially admitted that the latest leak with the alleged speech sections was real. She tried to get out of it with a lovely story about Lincoln, and did not directly answer the question of whether it was ok to have both a public and private position. She got out of it. Instead she brought up Russia who is trying to influence American election politics and is hacking. For the record, it is not the first time a foreign power tries to influence American elections. 1968 comes to mind, and the government then was South Vietnam. There are other examples and that is just the 20th century.
But when Trump raised the issue that if elected he would appoint a special prosecutor and she would go to prison, that was not just red meat for the base. It was breaking many rules of the road in the United States. It was also a frontal attack on democracy. We do not jail the losers in political elections. We are not Burma, or for that matter a few other nations around the world. In that he exhibited both his lack of knowledge of what is proper in a democracy, but also of things like double jeopardy. It was also dangerous speech.
With the Affordable Care Act it was simply a contrast. She wants to fix it, he wants to repeal it and go back to that jungle, and make it worst. He is placing full and complete trust in the market.
That said, the last question, if they could say something nice about each other was interesting. She spoke about his children, and he about her never quitting and giving up.
The next debate will be on October 19.