Vote 2016: Round II

JOSHUA DAUSENER, Copy Editor | [email protected]

The presidential campaign between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton has been marred with drama and controversy this past week. News of leaked audio tapes, speech transcripts and e-mails ran amuck on news outlets and social media.  The weekend concluded with the second of three presidential debates on Sunday, Oct. 9.

The debate was moderated by CNN’s Anderson Cooper and ABC’s Martha Raddatz.  The debate had a hostile tone from the beginning, as the two candidates did not shake hands when they entered the debate stage.

“It was the nastiest debate – mudslinging-wise – that we’ve ever seen,” said political science professor Justin Holmes. “It’s such a deviation from what we really want in a debate. In an idealized world, this would be a nice time where they politely discuss policy, and what they want to do and things like that.”

Political science department head Donna Hoffman shared the same sentiment, describing the debate as, “The worst debate I’ve ever seen […] It was rancorous; they don’t respect each other.”

Trump showed no restraint as he attacked Clinton on her deleted e-mails, judgement, honesty and husband Bill Clinton’s alleged sexual assault of women. Trump also referred to Clinton as “the devil” and even threatened to jail Clinton if elected.

“If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation because there has never been so many lies, so much deception,” Trump told Clinton at the debate.

Later in the debate, Clinton remarked, “It’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country,” to which Trump immediately shot back, “Because you’d be in jail.”

“I think what you saw with Donald Trump is that he spoke to his base,” Hoffman said. “What do we know about what debates do? They essentially get viewed through the lens of what you already think about the two candidates, and so my guess is that Trump supporters liked his performance and thought that he did really well.”

However, Hoffmann added that Trump’s performance likely didn’t attract much support outside of his base.

Holmes was particularly disturbed by Trump’s jailing threat.

“That’s not how we do democracy,” Holmes said. “Clinton’s probably done some things – she’s done things that are questionable, certainly. As he [Trump] has, frankly! And as have lots of candidates. This idea that, I’m going to win, and my opponent’s going to jail is just so far beyond anything else.”

“I think that this debate did a very good job of showing the differences between the two candidates,” said Northern Iowa Democrats President Jack Ave. “I think Hillary stuck to her facts, policies and overarching goals of the Democratic platform. […] She was able to show that her policies are superior, point out the flaws in Donald Trump’s positions and further solidified her platform.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, showed that he is unfit to be president because of his blatantly sexist, racist, xenophobic remarks.”

The Northern Iowan reached out to the UNI College Republican for comment on the debate and the leaked audio tape, but have not heard back as of press time.

Clinton took several shots at the Republican nominee on multiple issues, including a recently leaked audio tape of a lewd conversation in which Trump discusses his sexual assault of women.

On Friday, Oct. 7, the Washington Post released leaked audio of a conversation between Trump and radio and television personality Billy Bush from 2005. Trump described his lewd behavior towards women, most notably saying, “Grab ‘em by the pussy. You can do anything.” Trump also talked about his attempt to sleep with a married woman.

“His words are disgusting and prove that Trump is a proud perpetrator of sexual violence,” said Feminist Action League Treasurer Brenna Wolfe. “Trump does not respect women. The key word is ‘grab.’ Basically a woman’s body is something he will possess without consent. This is sexual assault. This is rape culture at its finest.”

Clinton did not escape the weekend squeaky clean, either. WikiLeaks recently released snippets of Clinton’s paid Wall Street speech transcripts, as well as emails from herself and several of her aides.

The subject of the speech transcripts first became an issue in February, during the Democratic primary, when Clinton promised to “look into” releasing the paid speech transcripts during a debate with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Clinton never released the transcripts.

In the leaked transcripts, Clinton is recorded as stating that she holds a public and a private stance on certain issues, and that she feels “out of touch” with middle class life.

The leaked emails were obtained via hacking of Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta’s account. Emails between Clinton aides show careful deliberation of issues including Wall Street regulation, trade, the Keystone pipeline and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Aides discussed the political pros and cons of each stance, with no discussion of what Clinton herself believed on the issue. The emails also included discussion on how to deal with Sanders, including an e-mail from then-DNC official Donna Brazile tipping off the Clinton campaign on Sanders’s campaign strategy and plans.

Hoffman is convinced the Clinton leaks will have little to no impact on the election.

“How many people saw [it]? It got totally buried under the salacious Trump stories, and so I don’t think that it has a huge effect on her,” Hoffman said.

Recent polling after the events of the weekend have showed Clinton increasingly pulling away from Trump. As of press time, the three national polls taken after Oct. 7 that included Trump, Clinton and third party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein saw Clinton leading Trump by six, five and nine points.

The candidates will debate for the final time on Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 8 p.m. The election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 8.