Clinton holds command of presidential race after second debate

Harmful scandal, lukewarm performance sinks Trump’s chances to win election

Ethan Brown

After a brutal week for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign, his second debate performance did very little, if anything, to help his case for president.

Throughout the debate, held at Washington University in St. Louis, it was very clear Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton commanded the event. Trump showed little restraint, often electing the use of factless tangents instead of fully addressing questions asked by voters in the town hall debate.

The first 30 minutes of the night were possibly the most damning evidence yet of Trump’s inability to lead, as he failed to defend his lewd comments on women released Oct. 7 by the Washington Post. He also deflected nearly every question asked of him, specifically a moment where he rambled about national security after being asked about the truth of his statements on groping women.

Inversely, Hillary Clinton finally had a personal moment many voters had been hoping to see. In a brilliantly worded statement, she not only condemned Trump’s statements about sexually assaulting women, but also weaved her response into a convincing argument regarding Trump’s fitness to be president.

About halfway into the event, Trump reached another moment which should be highly examined. During a conversation about the crisis in Syria, Trump claimed support of Russia’s airstrikes, which his running mate, Mike Pence, doesn’t support. After being informed of this by a moderator, Trump claimed “He and I haven’t spoken and I disagree.” This moment showed blatant error in Trump’s campaign strategy and displayed a lack of basic communication between Trump and his vice-presidential candidate.

Clinton’s weak moments came when Trump confronted her about calling his supporters “a basket of deplorables” and past U.S. arms deals. Although Clinton never had an actual meltdown situation, Trump’s comments showed an unexpected knowledge on the topics and may have caught Clinton off-guard.

Although her apology about the deplorables issues should be well received, the comments distanced her from many in the U.S. and may become an issue down the road.

Trump’s only redeeming moment came at the end of the night, where both candidates were essentially asked to compliment each other. Trump chose to compliment Clinton’s tenacity as a candidate, and although it doesn’t line up with his previous statements about her stamina, it was the only bright spot for his campaign in the last week.

This style of debate played well into Clinton’s hands, as she often not only approached voters asking questions, but positioned herself so Trump was always on camera. This showed Trump’s posture, facial expressions and other tendencies generally unseen to the public in this form of debate, none of which were by any means impressive.debate

The most surprising component of the event was the absolute dominance of moderators Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz, who held their own in a debate seasoned with interruptions from both candidates and Trump often deflecting important questions.

Raddatz, an ABC reporter, was the first correspondent to contain Trump and keep him on task while holding both candidates to their time limits. CNN anchor Cooper took a back seat in the second half of the debate, but was essential to Trump addressing his comments on women early on.

At the end of the night, nothing changed in terms of who will win the presidency. Trump may hold on a bit longer, but his recent scandals of possibly criminal proportion and inability to encompass undecided voters sunk any chances of redemption.

Clinton, on the other hand, showed nothing particularly special after the first third of the debate, but got the job done. She allowed Trump to ramble, which is his worst undoing, and her policy-driven knowledge should convince wary democrats and independents of her strength as a candidate.

The second presidential debate only solidified which candidate will stand at the U.S Capitol on Inauguration Day — and that’s Hillary Clinton.