The Second Debate

Clinton and Trump face off for a second time in heated presidential election

By By Tim Baldwin and Joe Carbonari

By Tim Baldwin

The second presidential debate was perhaps less sophomoric than the first, but still hard to stomach. After the video was released of Trump bragging about his sexual advances/assaults, more would-be Republican supporters jumped ship. Did Donald Trump recover?

Some loved Trump’s fanciful rhetoric, such as, “…because you’d be in jail,” etc., but their minds are already set. For the undecided, I doubt his “below the belt” attacks attracted voters.

Trump appealed to desperation. When answering a black woman’s question about how he’d serve “all Americans,” Trump responded, “what do you have to lose” and “it can’t get any worse.” Is Trump’s appeal that America is in the toilet and he is the greatest plumber? Not very inspiring.

Trump’s popularity ignited in American’s resentment towards established politicians. While the feeling may be as justified as real, Trump’s developed campaign, reckless speech, bullying persona and divisive mantra demonstrate that he was simply the wrong GOP choice.

Neither Trump nor Clinton inspired the undecided voters. Gary Johnson (Libertarian) is perhaps the only candidate who will. This is important because the candidates are elected by the electoral college and need 270 to win.

As the Washington Post stated, “while one state’s electoral votes may not seem like much, it might be enough to deprive either candidate a majority.” Notably, polls show Johnson could succeed in New Mexico, which may deprive Trump and Clinton of 270.

By Joe Carbonari

Donald Trump has shown a deficit of character and control. This deficit is disqualifying. The Donald Trump we see, and hear, is the Donald Trump that we would get. Consider him as leader of the free world. It is not a reality show.

This election is a test for democracy. The risk is that voters will be driven more by self-interest than by the common good, and misled in the process. There is more at stake than pure policy. It is a test of both our decency and of our system. It could be, at its extreme, existential. Erratic behavior in international diplomacy can be explosive.  It is an unacceptable risk; an affront to civil society.

The moral and intellectual leaders of the GOP have the responsibility to come forward and rebuild their party in a way that better reflects the demographic, spiritual, environmental and economic realities of the world as they now exist. There are tensions that need to be worked out.

Cooperation will be required. This is true domestically and internationally. A reasonable degree of order is also required. We are currently struggling with disorder, and the threat of it, both internationally and at home. The competitive, combative brand of individualism that Donald Trump represents does not serve in diplomatic discourse, be it at the Mexican border, the inner cities of America, or the battlegrounds of the Middle East. America needs to be better than Donald Trump.

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