The Pav gets political: Polsoc and SOFIA’s screening of the Trump/Clinton debate

Eunice Collins reviews the debate, screened by Trinity’s politics society and SOFIA at the Pav


The Trump/Clinton debate was screened by SOFIA and the Politics Society in the Pav yesterday evening. The enthusiastic turnout surpassed the seating available, but students stayed and watched through the open back door, eager for a glimpse of the next American president. The debate kicked off with issues surrounding the economy and Hillary Clinton spoke in favour of raising the minimum wage, closing the pay gap, paid family leave, debt-free college and investing in green energy. Donald Trump agreed with Clinton regarding childcare, but not on the “numbers and amounts and what we’re gonna do”.

He spoke of jobs being stolen, and even fleeing the country to Mexico. He claimed the green energy plan was impractical when the US are $23 trillion in debt. Clinton pointed out that “Trumped-up trickledown” economics had not worked in the past. She added that Trump didn’t believe in climate change. When asked about race relations, Trump supported the “stop and frisk” policy of profiling potential criminals. The interviewer reminded him that this had been ruled unconstitutional, to which Trump said that that was passed by “a very against-police judge”, that guns were a problem when in the hands of bad people, and that he supported the NRA protecting the second amendment.

Clinton responded by saying she supported ending minimum mandatory sentences and private prisons, retraining police to avoid implicit bias and increases gun safety measures. When the subject of ISIS was introduced, Trump blamed Clinton for creating a power vacuum in the Middle East when the American troops were withdrawn, which led to the rise of ISIS. “We should have taken the oil.. The oil was their primary source of income”, he argued. Trump then stated that Clinton had been fighting ISIS her entire adult life with little success.

In retaliation, Clinton outlined her plan to stop ISIS by working with technology companies and Islamic allies, to prevent ISIS radicalising more people and by intensifying airstrikes. She claimed that Trump had no plan to end ISIS. Clinton said she stopped Iran’s nuclear power by working with China and Russia to impose sanctions until Iran negotiated. She implied Trump couldn’t be trusted with nuclear codes, having spoken in the past of blowing sailors out of the water over taunts. The debate was not void of personal attacks by the candidates. Trump said “I’ve been all over the place, you decided to stay at home”.

Clinton countered by saying that she had been preparing for this debate and for being president. Trump claimed: “She has experience but it’s bad experience […] I have much better judgement than her […] a better temperament than her […] She doesn’t have the look, she doesn’t have the stamina”. Clinton pointed out that she had the stamina to travel to 128 countries and testify for eleven hours. She then outlined Trump’s prejudice. “He calls women pigs, slobs and dogs, says that pregnancy is an inconvenience to employers.. He called [one] woman Ms Piggy and Ms Housekeeper because she was Latino!”

Clinton’s overall message was one of hope as she spoke of policies to improve America. She remained calm and composed despite the numerous interruptions from her opponent, and stuck avidly to the two minute time limit. Trump’s message, on the other hand, revolved around the fears America currently faces. He spoke across the interviewer and Clinton, thus going over his time limit, and was frequently corrected on his tangents and the facts he presented.