First Debate Injects Contention into Upcoming Election


On Monday, Sept. 26 Moravian College students gathered in the United Brethren Church room to watch the first Presidential Debate  between Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.  The two candidates met for the first time at Hofstra University in Long Island, New York.

The debate was moderated by NBC’s Nightly News host Lester Holt, who asked the candidate’s questions about race relations, jobs, the candidates transparency, Trump’s tax return, and Clinton’s email server . Below are  Trump and Clinton’s viewpoints on the different topics.

Race Relations

“Race still determines too much” in America, said Clinton when asked about race relations. The former Secretary of State called for a plan that would “deal with mandatory minimum sentences,” and also  called  for a reform of the current prison system. Clinton’s former rival Senator Bernie Sanders had called for a similar policy in the Democratic primary.

Trump claimed that America needs “law and order” and suggested that, unlike Clinton, he is a “law and order” candidate.  Trump also claimed that homicide rates are increasing to  an all-time high. Finally, Trump  suggested that we  bring back the “stop-and-frisk” policy, which had been declared unconstitutional in the State of New York after a study found that it   disproportionately affected minorities.  


I want us to invest in your future. That means jobs in infrastructure, in advanced manufacturing, innovation and technology, clean, renewable energy, and small business,” said Clinton when discussing her vision for future jobs.

She stated her plan to increase technology in America, which would be accomplished by expanding broadband Internet access to every home in America by 2020, and by investing in computer science education.  Clinton also attacked Trump’s economic plan, calling it “trumped-up trickle-down economics,” and cited several economists that claim Trump’s plan would eradicate 3.5 million jobs.  

Trump laid out a plan reflective of  New-Era Reaganomics, or trickle-down economics. He blamed current politicians, like Clinton, of creating and endorsing trade deals that led to jobs leaving the country. He also attacked Clinton on the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) and on her support of NAFTA, which her husband, former President Bill Clinton, signed.

Trump also mentioned how the Ford Motor Company decided to produce certain cars in Mexico instead of  Detroit.


In terms of policies that directly impact students, Hillary Clinton offered  a plan to solve student debt, which can be found here ( Trump also stated that college affordability is a big issue, and months ago he assigned a group to create a plan to solve the student debt crisis.

Both candidates criticized each other’s lack of transparency. Clinton criticized Trump’s decision to not release his tax returns and claimed that Trump might have committed tax evasion, which is a criminal offense. “That makes me smart,” was Trump’s reply. Trump then took  Clinton to task for using a personal email server for government business  and the 30,000 deleted emails that were never turned over to the FBI.   

Climate Change

The candidates also clashed over climate change.  Clinton said that Trump did not believe in climate change, and that he believes it’s a hoax made up by the Chinese. Trump then interrupted her, stating “I never said that!”

The first debate was clearly contentious. Trump consistently interrupted Clinton, cutting her off a total of 51 times. Clinton received 4 half-true or mostly false claims from Politifact, a fact-checking website, and Trump received 16 false and mostly false claims.

During the debate itself, many students muttered and laughed at some of Trump’s responses. Many expressed the idea that most Americans would think Trump “won” the debate, but Clinton seemed to be a favorite among the students in the room.