You are here
Home > Front Page > Debates reveal important details to voters

Debates reveal important details to voters

By Maria Krasteff

Trump and Clinton met up in three debates this year. Photo courtesy of
Trump and Clinton met up in three debates this year.
Photo courtesy of












The 2016 presidential election is different than any other in U.S history. This is the first time we have had a candidate running for president who has never held public office. It is also the first time a woman has been named  as the presidential nominee of a major political party. These candidates are Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. As the election  comes closer by the day, the candidates have begun a series of  televised debates. So far there have been two presidential debates and one vice presidential debate. And just as this election season is unforgettable, so are the heated debates.

The first debate was held on Sept. 26 at Hofstra University. The debate amassed the record-breaking number of 85 million viewers. Lester Holt moderated the debate and each candidate had two minutes to respond to the questions he asked. Within the first third of the debate, both candidates behaved very presidentially and were polite to one another. They answered questions promptly and thoroughly. This was quite surprising, especially from Trump, since he is known to be outspoken and say bold statements.

But after that, everything began to head downhill. Trump began to interrupt Clinton much more frequently and instead of answering questions directly, he used any chance he could get to weakly attack Clinton. Clinton kept herself composed throughout his attacks and defended herself to the best of her abilities. As the debate wrapped up, it was clear who “won.” Clinton outperformed Trump in a variety of ways: manners, tone and answering questions with a strong, clear answer.

The second debate took place on Oct. 9 in Washington University in St. Louis. This time, around 69 million people watched. The debate was in town hall style with Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz facilitating. From the very beginning, the air was thick between both candidates. When they first came out on the stage, they did not shake hands but  just nodded in acknowledgment of one another.

The body language was the major thing viewers noticed during all 90 minutes. When an undecided voter asked a question, Clinton would turn and speak to the person. She would address them by name and almost have a one on one conversation with them. Trump did the exact opposite.

When it was his turn to answer, he did not look at or acknowledge the voter. For many questions, he sidetracked and ended up not answering the question. The way he acted with Clinton was childish and un-presidential. He interrupted Clinton for the smallest things and constantly attacked her just as in the previous debate. It seemed as if he did not care about the voters’ questions and instead focused his time on bashing Clinton.

Many times the moderators had to tell him multiple times to stop talking so they could move onto the voter’s questions. Regarding his body language, he used his larger size to his advantage to tower over Clinton, and in many shots you could see Trump standing behind her and almost looking down on her.

Sure, these are small details that many people wouldn’t notice, but when it is consistent throughout the whole debate and matches up with his rude commentary and immature behavior, it starts to stand out much more. Just as before, Clinton performed  better in this debate than Trump and the same points apply as in the previous debate.

In the last debate, Clinton and Trump tried for a final time to sway undecided voters and prove why they were fit to be president. This debate had around 71.5 million viewers. Chris Wallace moderated and asked questions regarding taxes, the economy, trade, immigration, and other topics.

Once again, Clinton had concise responses to many of the questions asked. Trump, on the other hand, rambled on and his answers were confusing and indirect.

Although the election season isn’t over, these debates give voters a pretty clear picture of who is more fit to be president. All questions asked in both debates were about topics that the future president must address and a clear plan on how to fix them, such as poverty, policing in America, education, taxes, and allies and enemies abroad. Based on each candidate’s answers and plans they have laid out and stuck with since the beginning of the race, a voter can get a good idea on who deserves to be the next president of the United States.

Based on the debates and their words and deeds throughout the campaign, it is clear that that person should be Hillary Clinton.

AHS Journalism
The Oak Leaf, a product of the journalism class, is a vehicle of student expression and a public forum for the Alameda High School community.