By Noman Ahmad ‘17
Over the past few weeks, Donald Trump’s poll numbers have been sliding, and it’s no surprise. Coming in to the first debate, Clinton had led by only 2.1 percent according to RealClearPolitics (RCP). Now, Clinton leads by a healthy 6.2 percent over Trump (48.0 to 41.8), what could’ve possibly changed the direction of the most controversial general election?
The first debate took place on Monday, September 26 and was hosted on NBC, with an average of 84 million viewers. The format of the debate was pretty clear, a series of segments with topic-related questions asked by NBC’s Lester Holt. The first segment was on the economy, where Trump made a strong start, he expressed his disagreement with the economy and his promise to bring back businesses that are leaving the nation. He talked about the struggling infrastructure of our nation and it resembling a third world country. He definitely did not have rehearsed lines like Clinton’s “Trumped up, trickle-down economics.” It is disappointing however, to see that a momentous and well-behaved segment did not carry over to the rest of the debate. Trump looked sloppy and it seemed like he wasn’t prepared to defend any claims on any topic besides the economy. Every time a question would be asked, he would swing the topic to a completely different direction. Now, Clinton wasn’t without her dull moments, but at least she stayed on topic. Trump also openly admitted to saying that the reason for crime in cities like Chicago is because of African-American neighborhoods. Those type of racist comments are not acceptable in a national debate. Clinton on the other hand, stayed away from making controversial statements, sticked to the topic, and put Trump in a bigger hole than he already was in.
In the week following the debate, many events occurred that affected the polls. First, the vice-presidential debate, in which Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, disagreed that Trump made any racist statements during his campaign, which is false. At his rallies Trump made crude statements towards Muslims, Mexicans, African Americans, and women. Did Pence even pay attention to the rallies?
Just a few days before the second debate a video from 2005 surfaced on the internet, which showed Trump making very inappropriate comments towards women, including claims of sexually abusing women. At that point, many democrats and republicans wanted Trump to be replaced in the party and this video became the hot topic of the second debate. Trump’s poll numbers started trickling down at this point.
The second presidential debate took place on Sunday, October 9 and was moderated by CNN’s Anderson Cooper and ABC’s Martha Raddatz. This time 69 million viewers viewed the debate. The format for this debate was different, moderators asked questions submitted from social media as well as questions asked by undecided voters at the debate. Trump needed to make a statement in this debate if he planned on becoming president. That wasn’t the case. Accusing Bill Clinton, does not justify his own words against women. It is not okay to just apologize for his words, given that it wasn’t his first time making vulgar statements towards women. It would’ve been okay to go easy on him if he made a strong showing in the rest of the debate. That also wasn’t the case. He kept changing topics, never answered any of his questions, and kept blaming president Obama for many of the economic issues we face. He never actually gave solutions for the problems that the nation faces, instead he just reiterated the problems himself. Trump has no plan, and a man without a plan shouldn’t be our president. Just like the first debate, all Clinton had to do was to avoid controversy and stick to topic, which she did for the majority of the debate and took one more step towards the White House.
Whether it was his crude comments towards women or him not releasing his tax returns, Trump is sliding in poll numbers. For a general election that seemed neck and neck before the first debate, it seems to be expanding to a one-sided victory. Business Insider believes that Clinton will annihilate Trump in the electoral college (316-187). The battle was fun while it lasted, and although there is still some time left, it is all but over, Clinton will be our next president.