Note that this is about issues and not scoring points so what were they saying they stood for, so I am writing mostly not about who made a better point while saying it, but where they stood on the issues. I do try to point out the blatant lies. Sorry for the length, but if you had to listen to this whole thing again and take notes, you would forgive me. She who must not be mentioned here had to go in the other room.
Topic – The Supreme Court
Wallace: What direction to take the country and is the Founders’ words to be literally interpreted or a living document:
Clinton: Stand on the side of American people, not on the side of corporations. Support women’s rights, LGBT community, say no to Citizens United, not reverse marriage equality, not reverse Roe versus Wade, repeal Citizens United, upholding the rights of Americans over the powerful. Can be and must be reasonable regulation. Background checks, close gun show and internet loopholes, and others. Defend Planned Parenthood.
Trump: Uphold the second amendment (what does that mean? Code for no control on guns), which is under absolute siege (not true), pro-life, conservative bent. Interpret the Constitution literally, the way it was meant to be (in whose mind). No limits on any gun laws. Court overturn Roe Versus Wade. Go back to states (State shopping?).
This seems to fairly straight forward for me. They are clear on where they stand on the issues here. The only point I would make in Hillary’s favor is that she did not misrepresent the facts and the Donald did both on the second amendment and late-term abortions (not have the government decide for women). You have a clear choice, unregulated guns and a woman’s right to choose decided for by big government or you believe that guns can be regulated and a woman has a right to choose. How could you be undecided here?
Topic – Immigration
Wallace: Mrs. Clinton, you are going offer us a plan within 100 days that includes a path to citizenship and Mr. Trump, you are going to build a wall. Please explain.
Trump: No amnesty. Violence and drugs coming into the (rapist and murders again). Single biggest problem is heroin, and strong borders will prevent. I want to build the wall. Bad people out. At a later date make a determination as to the rest. Every undocumented person will be subject to deportation. President Obama has been moving people back out. Unfair to allow those who cheat to get citizenship. Trump goes off the rails here with Putin, Wikileaks, nukes, and Muslims at the borders. But he is clear, close the borders, kick out everyone. He did have a point that Putin has outsmarted Obama in Syria although not on topic.
Clinton: Trump’s policies would separate parents and families and she does not want to rip parents apart from their children. Does not want a massive deportation force in action in our country. This would require a massive law enforcement presence rounding up people, and is not in keeping with who we are as a country. Her plan includes border security, but only focus on bad actors. A wall is not the answer, comprehensive reform is. Bringing undocumented workers out of the shadows will help everyone. No more exploiting of workers and is a better way to safeguard America.
Just my opinion here but when Wallace challenged Clinton on open borders and open trade, she should have said yes like we have between states in the United States, but we are not anywhere near there now and we have to carefully regulate our borders*. Okay once again on the issues, immigration, Trump wants to close the borders, end immigration as we know it, and does not address our need for immigrant labor, still on a wall he can’t build. Hillary wants to work on a common sense immigration plan recognizing we need to embrace our undocumented labor workforce. Pick your poison. Nobody mentioned that there is no real flow at the border anymore. So once again if you are undecided, you have a clear choice.
As an aside they got off on nuclear weapons, Putin, Middle East ect., and I thought Trump was ranting especially when he said she lies about everything and the reality is, he does. He denied our own government’s pinning the Wikileaks emails on Russia, and denied he said we should allow nuclear proliferation, which of course he is on record as saying. Still undecided?
Topic: The Economy
Wallace: Secretary Clinton in your plan you see more spending, more entitlements, more tax penalties. Mr. Trump you want to get government out, lower taxes, less regulation. Please explain to me why your plan will create more jobs and growth for this country and your opponents plan will not.
Clinton: My plan is based upon when the middle class thrives the economy thrives. Growing the economy to give middle class families more opportunities, a jobs program, jobs in infrastructure and advanced manufacturing. New jobs in clean energy, to fight climate change (note only time climate change was mentioned), help small business. Raise the minimum wage, equal pay for equal work, education system that starts with preschool and goes through college. More technical jobs. Cut cost of college (under $125K). Wealthy and Corporations would pay fair share. Donald’s who plan is to cut taxes to the wealthy and corporations and could cost jobs, adding $20 trillion to our debt. Trickle down economics on steroids. Not raise taxes on anyone making $250K or less and not add a penny to the debt (debatable). I do have investments, that are paid for. Invest from the middle out, not from the top down.
Trump: He is going to do a lot for college tuition (what?). Her plan will double your taxes (not true). Then he goes back to questioning our protecting Saudi Arabia, Japan, Korea. Why are we protecting them, and they have to pay up (Most of them do pay up, but who needs facts). Free trade, but horrible deals so we are going to renegotiate NAFTA or cancel it, cut taxes massively, cut business taxes massively (many don’t pay any now), we are going to hire people (how?). Bring offshore money back. Even Wallace points out his plan does not add up. Trump claims we can grow at astounding rates, but does not tell us how except giant tax cuts and cancelling trade agreements. Statements about NAFTA are not supported by economists.
So what we have here is are we going to invest in the rich (tax cuts, less regulation) or invest in the middle class. On trade agreements we have no idea how he would renovated them. Again a clear choice. How can you be undecided? From my point of view we have been investing in the rich and what we have is record levels of economic inequality, but the choice is stark.
Topic: Fitness to be President.
Wallace: Asks Trump about the women and his denial of his sexual behavior, and asks Mrs. Clinton to defend her actions when her husband was accused.
Trump: Long story short, sticking to his denials. He went on a rant about the Clintons hiring people to cause violence at his events. Then he makes a leap and says this is a plot by the Clinton. Both are fiction. Then brings up the destruction of emails and lying to FBI (not true or misrepresented). Big distraction.
Clinton: Pointed out Donald said he did it and then women came out to document it, then denied it. Points out the Gold Star attack, Mexican Judge attack, and shows pattern
Wallace: Asks about the Clinton Foundation/Trump Foundation, donations, and pay for play.
Clinton: Denies anyone got pay for play and has been totally investigated, Then launches on the Clinton Foundations good deeds which is a distraction from the trust/change issue and I think hurts her. She compared the Trump foundation who used funds to buy a portrait of the Donald, to the Clinton Foundation who invests 90% of all donations and is highly rated.
Trump: Clinton Foundation is a criminal enterprise. Taking money from countries who have bad human rights records. Give back the money. He is asked directly if some of the money was used in the Trump foundation to settle lawsuits and he lied about it.
Then it went off to taxes and not taxes with a ridiculous claim that as a United States Senator Hillary could have changed the tax code. Finally on Character Wallace asked Trump about his claims of a rigged election and whether he would accept the outcome, to which he replied: “I will look it at the time. “Claimed Hillary should never have been allowed to run (by whom?). Hillary responded: “That’s horrifying.”
The choice? Misogynist and liar or a women who tried to protect her husband much like Trumps wife is now doing. The destruction of the emails was wrong, but Hillary did not do it and the FBI fully investigated. Again, undecided? The choice is stark. What was on display was fairly easy to judge. And with Trump’s statement that if he loses he might not concede should be defining about his character and the level of a fantasy land he lives in. On character once again the choice is stark. How can you be undecided?
Topic: Foreign Hot Spots
Wallace asked about the attempt to take Mosul and what happens the day after. Will you put U.S. Troops in this vacuum?
Hillary: Points out indigenous force doing the work supported by U.S., but will not support U.S troops occupying again. Putting troops into the area would encourage ISIS. To continue to push forward into Syria. Syria is a problem. No fly zone and safe haven in Syria. Clinton explains the strategic approach in Mosul and why it is important to defeating ISIS.
Trump: Does not answer the question. It is all Clinton’s fault for withdrawing from Iraq (forgetting George Bush negotiated the withdrawal and Iraq would not compromise on it). Then went after Obama administration for announcing attack on Mosul. He does not understand the Caliphate needs land and this represents a failure of their ideology. Making point we are all stupid. Then goes to Iran and how the agreement makes it easier to get nukes (also not true). Note the whole diatribe did not answer the question and simply said everything we did was stupid, but not what he would do. Does he have a policy? Then he launched on Wikileaks.
Wallace: Asks about Aleppo and points out Russia is busy fighting ISIS and the fact is that the Russians and Syrians are the ones attacking the city. Would Trump like to clear that up?
Trump: Does not answer question. Blames Aleppo on Hillary. Assad much smarter than Obama and states a bunch of semi facts and some absolute falsehoods. ISIS aligned Syrians in America is Trojan Horse.
Okay, let’s cut through all the noise, what where their policies for the area. Hillary said what she would do and not do. Donald just complained about everything we have done, stupid decisions, but absolutely no policy on how to proceed in the Middle East. After this debate I have no clue what his policy would be except to cozy up to Russia and cancel the agreement with Iran to reduce nuclear weapon productions. So on policy do you have a choice? Well based upon tonight’s performance you have no clue what Donald will actually do. Still undecided?
Final Topic: The National Debt
Wallace: Our National Debt as a percentage of GDP is now 77%. Is the highest until just after WWII. Debt would rise to 86% of GDP and under Trumps plan 105% of GDP. Question: Why are both of you ignoring this problem? Entitlements is 60% of our federal spending. How do you plan to fund Medicare and Social security with tax increases and benefit cuts?
Trump: He is going to create tremendous jobs and bring from 1% up to 4% (but not how other than tax cuts, etc.). Claims of what would be the result without a plan to do it other than renegotiating trade deals. Claims we use political hacks to negotiate (actually corporate hacks). Everyone will go back to work and everything will be roses. On entitlements grow economy and repeal and replace Obamacare (replace with what). He did not really answer the question about how to fund other than wild growth and repeal Obamacare with no plan for replacement.
Clinton: First criticizes Trumps criticism. Claims she pays for everything she proposes. Has detailed plans complete with a way to pay for them, not running up the debt. We are going to ask corporations and wealthy to pay fair share. Growth will come from the middle class not with the wealthy. On entitlements, on record to put more money into Social Security Trust fund and will raise taxes on wealthy to do it (raise cutoff limit). She will not cut benefits. Enhance benefits especially for low-income workers and women. Points out that Obamacare extended the solvency of the Medicare Trust fund (she knows her facts, Donald is clueless). Recommends going after long-term healthcare drivers.
So Trump did not answer the question except he is going to grow the economy so it’s not a problem, yet independent estimates say his plan will run up massive debts that will require cuts in both Social Security and Medicare. He will “save money” by repealing Obamacare with no replacement identified. Hillary has a plan to invest in the middle class not the rich to get the economy going, plans that may or may not pay for themselves and will raise taxes to pay for our benefits and will try to increase them. As an aside, what is the problem with the debt? If it was a problem we would have sky-high interest rates or if we were printing money to pay it off, inflation. Seen either? So again one is pie in the sky growth through cutting taxes that has never worked or detailed plans for investing in the middle class. Again the choice is stark. How can you be undecided?
So did Trump win most of the points as some Republicans claim? Only if you want unlimited guns, take away a woman’s right to choose, think we need to build walls and punish even the children of immigrants, want more flow down economics and an increase in economic inequality with unrealistic budgets, and of course massive cutting of entitlements. So they listened with a partisan ear to hear their hot buttons, not whether what they want would solve any problems. They had already decided that Hillary’s progressive ideas would fail.
My point here is if you do what the pundits failed to do, examine the candidates on the issues, the choices are stark and you would have to be mindless and brain-dead to be undecided. But that is not what is really at play here as a group of undecideds demonstrated Wednesday night. It was about character and change. Now on the character issue, once again the choice is clear if you add up all lies and treatment of women, and Trump’s behavior, it is Hillary. Still she lost points with these folks when Trump went after her for trade agreements (playing on their economic insecurity and when she either did not answer questions (emails and the open borders question). On competing foundations, the facts are fairly clear although it is not clear these people know them.
On the trust/character thing, it is about people who really want to see change. Again to me the choice is clear. If you elect Trump you get failed Republican policies on steroids. No details on how he would do what he says except an economic plan that breaks the bank and lots of promises, but no details. With Hillary, she proposes real change and the detailed plans to back it up. So it is back to do you trust her and will she really move away from the banks. That is her challenge in the next 2 1/2 weeks. But there is a level of ignorance here among these voters that is scary. In my next blog I will present ex-Supreme Court Justice David Souter predicting exactly this ignorance and the rise of a Trump.
*Actually you would think Republicans would love a world where trade barriers are down and people can move to follow jobs and markets so this be afraid of open borders and open markets is really where we would all like to be in a perfect world.