America, Donald Trump and Presidential Debates

What is so fascinating about the United States? I say it’s partly due to its superpower status and the millions of us chasing the American Dream. Most obviously, the current global fascination with the US is only promoted due to the current presidential nominees with the spotlight hitting Donald Trump (Drumpf).

Having read some analysis in the morning – not excluding tweets made using #Debate – I wanted to watch the second debate during my politics class. As my teacher was putting the video on, he told us he woke up sometime around 2AM as he thought that maybe the second presidential debates would make history. I can approve that he was disappointed that Trump still came out, though the first thirty minutes of the debate that we watched was just pure entertainment and utter frustration.

I can recall the giggling of my classmates and I as soon as Mr Trump said his first word, the shaking of heads and the occasional “WHAT IS HE EVEN ON ABOUT?” resonating somewhere from the room. I wanted that Republican Nominee to shut up but, for the sake of being able to bash and mock him, to also keep talking. A lot that came out of his mouth was just him trying to deflect comments about his vulgar statement and then reverting back to his usual mantras: ISIS, Mexicans, Hilary’s emails and implying that ‘inner cities’ are bad because of African Americans. (I am tempted to start an online counter to keep track of how many times he mentions those topics in a debate). His changing of the subject was pretty obvious, though of course Mrs Clinton wanted to project her image as a suitable candidate unlike her republican counterpart, so she didn’t take the opportunity like so many of us would’ve to completely tear him down. What’s surprising is the fact that Bill Clinton and his “abusive” nature towards women was brought up and Hilary somehow managed not to jump Trump. Our room suddenly became filled with snickering and guffaws because Donald, albeit he really didn’t want to have to say it but said it anyway, threatened to have Clinton arrested if he becomes POTUS. At that point, I questioned how someone so creepy made it that far in the presidential process and why people were cheering him when he said Hilary would be in jail. These questions were raised earlier in my class and a friend did conclude that nowadays, people like direct and radical politicians, for example Duterte, the President of my homeland.

After watching the best part of the whole exchange, the class was asked to take away their bias and judge who won the debate in the first half an hour. Based purely on what I saw, Hilary still won for me. Yes, it could be argued that both did behave like children during some part of the debate, but Trump was like a gargantuan child. Clinton didn’t really answer the opening question in her first answer, but at least she wasn’t lurking behind the other when they were giving their answer and kept interrupting them.

Maybe Trump did bring the momentum to the debate, but I agree with Jessica Valenti’s* point that an important question to ask is ‘who is the loser?’ in which case, it would be us watching and the biggest losers would be the undecided voters. Neither were able to completely sway the scale enough to win mass voters over, instead both nominees firmed those already committed to them; Trump kept to his racial issues and Hilary was not challenged enough in terms of her policies. The only score I’ll give to Trump is that he did manage to break Clinton a bit by using her emails again: bringing up Bill was just a low blow.

Away from the topic of the debates, my teacher asked how us young women felt about Mr. Trump’s remarks and views on sexual assault publicised on the weekend (full transcript of the video here: Answers ranged from shocked to disgusted as expected, but I was not so much surprised that he would make such a crude comment. To be honest, Donald Trump’s past racism and treatment towards women (e.g. Alicia Machado) just made this remark the icing of the tall, crumbling cake. I am ashamed to say that for a second I did question some of the male population because of what this man deemed as “locker room talk”. It is scary that someone with such an archaic, objectifying attitude towards women is as close to becoming President as you can get.

The first question of the night was “Do you feel you are modeling appropriate and positive behavior for today’s youth?”and I fear the outcome of the election as if Trump becomes President, equality would be even harder to reach, the nation may certainly be in a disarray and the Dream may be killed.

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