My Questions for the Candidates in Tonight’s Presidential Debate

This has been a kind of crazy week in a campaign full of crazy weeks, and the election is only 30 days away, so tonight’s Presidential debate is as important as ever. Tonight’s debate is a Town Hall format, where the candidates take questions from the audience, so I thought I’d suggest a few questions that I’d like each of the candidates for the highest office of our land to answer.

For Mrs. Clinton

On the economy

Many of the programs that you’ve advocated for will require increased government spending, which you have said would come from additional taxes on the wealthy. Yet as we know, taxation isn’t simply about the nominal tax rate, since loopholes and deductions often allow the wealthiest to pay a lower share of their taxes than those that are less well off. How do you respond to suggestions that this is plain and simple income redistribution, a punishment for those who have been successful?

On defense

It seems like every day, the political situation overseas is getting more fraught. Our relationship with a Russia increasingly trying to flex its might is arguably the worst it’s been since the end of the cold war. Syria has become even more of a morass, with no peace in sight and thousands of people being killed and displaced daily. China has been unsettling its neighbors with increased activity in the South China sea and throughout Asia. In Venezuela, in North Korea, and the Philippines, among other places, we’re seeing increasing instability as rulers try to deal with economic hardship and social unrest. The US shouldn’t be the world’s policeman, but we have historically been a force for stability. How will you respond to the increased number and varied nature of these threats and help keep the interests of the US safe at home and abroad?

On character

Simply put, many voters don’t like you. You have the second highest unfavorability rating of any presidential nominee. You have a reputation of being evasive and willing to tell people what they want to hear in order to earn their vote. How will you earn these people’s trust and reach out to the other side to bring the country together after the election?

For Mr. Trump

On the economy

You’ve often pointed to your business prowess as one of the reasons you’re qualified to improve the economy. But the goal of the US isn’t the maximization of profits, and some of the tools that are available in business — reorgs, restructuring, bankruptcy, etc. — don’t translate well to the public sector. The regulations you’ve said you would roll back in many cases exist to protect our citizens’ safety, their health, or the environment, and the tariffs you say you’ll impose could lead to a full-blown trade war with some of our largest trading partners. What specific plans do you have to grow the economy and to increase employment?

On defense

You’ve said that the greatest threat to our country’s security is ISIS, and that you have a plan to address this. But ISIS operates in a part of the world with overlapping, conflicting regional interests and where it’s difficult to know who our real allies and enemies are. There is a crippling humanitarian problem, huge economic upheaval, and widespread political unrest that could lead to even greater instability and conflict not just for the region but for the world. Against that backdrop, and with the knowledge that most Americans are wary of sending additional boots on the ground, what are you going to do about ISIS?

On character

Simply put, many voters don’t like you. You have highest unfavorability rating of any presidential nominee. How will you convince voters that you’re not an egotistical racist, a misogynistic little child that can’t articulate a single coherent policy position and throws a tantrum when things don’t go your way?


Those are my questions. What answers would you like to hear from the candidates tonight?

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