Strange things happened at the 2nd Presidential debate: Trump invited Clinton accusers, Clinton brought up the Russians, and Melania wore a blouse that reminded us of the word ‘pussy’.
The typical political strategy is to dodge questions, and last night’s debate was no different. Nor was it different when it came to unintentionally revealing the candidates’ priorities. Hillary’s desperation to win points with black voters revealed itself as she pivoted to a focus on “celebrating diversity” in response to a question about presidential behaviour. Trump’s decision to, as Megan Murphy form Bloomberg Politics called it “go down in flames” was confirmed in his response to the same question: the first question.
Both candidates were asked “knowing that educators assign presidential debates as student’s homework, do you feel you are modelling appropriate and positive behaviour for todays’ youth?” Trump responded to the question by declaring that respect for police should be restored, leaving the rest of us to guess why the question from a black teacher would inspire a response about the treatment of police.
Clinton’s response to the question, though more coherent, also dodged the topic. Hillary listed off unrelated phrases to what looked like an opportunity to win a Black vote, and ended up ignoring the voter’s question instead. In response to the question about her behaviour, she promised to ‘lift each other up,’ by making education more affordable, and by reaching out to whoever she can to ‘bring them in’ and ‘celebrate our diversity’.
When a Muslim American, Gorba Hameed asked “how will you help people like me deal with the consequences of being labeled as a threat to the country after the election is over?” both responded in different, though equally dense fashions. “Muslims should report when they see hatred going on … muslims have to report the problems when they see them” said Trump. Clinton responded “… we’ve had many successful Muslims” then lamented “we just lost a very successful one” naming Muhammad Ali. She recovered by addressing the question in a declaration that the guest and her family would be “as welcome to America as anyone else”.