Liberal Column

Clinton clearly wins debate by addressing issues

/ The Daily Orange

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump met Wednesday night in Las Vegas for the third presidential debate. Moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News did little to hide his conservative bias for much of the night, while the candidates completed their final night of unproductive onstage bickering. While nothing momentous happened with the potential to shift the outcome of the election, the debate was like a trainwreck viewers couldn’t look away from. Here’s how Clinton came out ahead on each of the issues.

Supreme Court

Clinton smartly interpreted the opening question on the Supreme Court’s role in terms of upholding women’s rights and income inequality, whereas Trump stuck to strengthening the second amendment and the usual conservative position that the Constitution is set in stone. Whenever he falls back into this routine, it’s questionable how much of this he actually believes and how much he works just to appease the Republican base.


Trump continues to tout his border wall and deportation plan while ignoring the fact his plans are immoral and unreasonable. Wallace used the opportunity to question Clinton’s push for open markets and open borders, something that came from the WikiLeaks release. But Wallace didn’t question the viability of Trump’s outrageous plans — a disappointing lack of fact-checking by the moderator.

The economy

Again, both candidates didn’t stray far from their campaign pledges: Clinton promoted her clear college tuition plan and Trump continued to focus on destroying NAFTA. Blaming the United States’ sluggish GDP growth on President Barack Obama’s stimulus package, Wallace seemed unrelenting with his conservative bias.

Fitness to lead

Wallace took this opportunity to go after Trump for the first time, questioning the Republican candidate on his many accusers of sexual assault. Trump’s outrageous claim that the accusers were controlled by the Clinton campaign did little to endear him to undecided voters.

Trump also refused to say he would respect the outcome of the election with the “corrupt” media swaying the results. This won’t help Trump gain support, as he seems to look more for pity than for votes.

Foreign “hot spots”

Although, Clinton has a clear advantage on this issue with her time as Secretary of State, a 15-minute conversation won’t solve the complicated issues of the Islamic State and the Syrian conflict.

Trump’s most nuanced position on the Syrian conflict consists of repeatedly discussing how bad Aleppo is, and bemoaning the rise of the Islamic State. Trump just flat out does not understand foreign policy and diplomacy, and has shown little progress on this issue.

Debt and entitlements

In the final topic of the night, Wallace was right to point out both candidates’ fiscal plans will increase U.S. debt —Trump’s much more so than Clinton. Trump thinks he can fix this by increasing U.S. GDP growth to 6 percent or more, which the U.S. hasn’t done in more than three decades.

Clinton needs to do more to decrease federal spending to balance the budget, but at least she doesn’t push for unrealistic economic goals. This all ties back into both candidates’ fitness to lead, as voters must expect practical expectations from their leaders.

Overall, the night presented more of what we’ve been seeing for the entirety of this election. Clinton, while not without her own flaws, cannot help but demonstrate how completely unprepared Donald Trump is to be president.

Cole Jermyn is a sophomore environmental resource engineering major and economics minor at SUNY-ESF. He can be reached at and followed on Twitter @Cjermyn8.


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