Alicia Menendez - Assessing the Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump Debate

September 26, 2016 - Alicia Menendez 09/26/2016 Views: 30,193

Fusion's Alicia Menendez reviews the first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and weighs in on whether third-party candidates should've been able to participate. (5:15)

Watch Full Episode

Please welcome Alicia Menendez,everybody.

-(cheering, applause) -Thank youso much for being here.

-Thank you.-Let's jump straight into it.

What a night.Everyone has waited for so long.

You've beenon the campaign trail.

You've been involvedin moderating a debate.

What did you make of the nightas a whole?

Well, you know, I think thatClinton and Trump came into this

with very different tasksbefore them.

They were speakingto very different audiences.

Hillary Clinton knows she needsminority voters,

she needs women voters, sheneeds highly educated voters.

Donald Trump knows he needsdisaffected, white voters.

So they were already starting byspeaking to different audiences,

and then on top of that, theyhad two very different tasks.

Donald Trump needed to seemnot not presidential.

-Yes. -Hillary Clinton neededto prove her trustworthiness,

and I think that isa much harder thing to do

-in 90 minutes.-Is that why they were going

with the split screen,so that you could just watch

whichever part of the screenyou wanted?

You just could go...'Cause that's what it felt like.

It was, like, you're watchingHillary, she's saying one thing,

she seems like she's goingon her own path.

Donald Trump is sayinga completely different thing.

Do you think eitherof the candidates succeeded

-in what they were trying to do?-I think they did.

I mean, I think in some waysthey both succeeded,

they were just succeedingat different things.

And I think that'swhy you very often saw them

going off on tangentsand off on topics

that suited the audiencesthat they were speaking to,

even if they didn'treally answer the question.

Yeah, they... well, I mean,they weren't allowed to applaud.

-The people weren't answeringthe questions. -So many rules.

That's, I think,the question that I have.

-Mm-hmm. -You've playeda moderator before.

What is the point?

If people are gonna beon a stage debating,

and there isno checking of facts...

If you're sitting at homeand you don't know

the minute statisticof $650 million

or $500 millionthat was given in a tax break

and an abatementand what happened there,

what is the pointof having the debate, then?

Is it just giving people aplatform to say what they feel?

And why are youinterviewing me right now?

Like, I could just ask myselfthe questions and do answers.

I like that.I like that a lot.

My mom would watch that show,

and she'd be the only onewho watched it.

But, you know, I think thatone of the things, you know,

that they talked aboutwith the fact-checking,

is that first you wantto give the candidates

-the chance to fact-checkeach other. -Yeah.

And I think you sawboth Trump and Clinton

very actively doing thattonight.

They came prepared, assumedthat Lester Holt, the moderator,

would not have the abilityto jump in and do that.

So they were really moderatingeach other.

And then...even then, I think...

I was personally surprised bythe extent to which Lester Holt

was jumping inand fact-checking

when the candidatesweren't doing it for each other.

He did a fantastic job,it felt like, you know?

He wasn't in too much, he...I mean,

-it's a tough position to be in.-It's really tough to be in.

Let's, uh,let's talk about, I guess,

some of the moreinteresting conversations

that are going on in Americaright now.

One of the topics wasin and around race.

You know, and then bothof the candidates got into it.

It seemed like both of themwere playing it safe.

It was like,"You know, yes, race,

"we should be aware of the race,and good,"

and Hillary was like, you know,"Praise the church,

good black church,good times, yeah?"

-Love Barack Obama. Yeah.-Yes, yes. "Barack good.

Nice, black, good, nice, yes."

And then Trump on his sidewas also like,

"Yeah, you know, uh, the black,I like the black.

Um, you know?"It felt like it was really safe.

It wasn't... it wasn't likewhat it was at the convention,

-which was strong.-Yeah. You could call it safe

or you could call it lame--I mean, it just... it wasn't

a very robust conversationabout race.

I don't thinkthey really got to the heart.

I mean, duringthe Democratic primaries,

there was sucha robust conversation

around Black Lives Matter,where they were really using

the language of the movement

and getting intowhat these realities mean

for minority communities,and this was not that language.

Right? This was much...much safer.

And not only that,I mean, it's disappointing

for those of us who comefrom minority communities

if the only conversationyou're having

about minority communitiesand race is about violence.

I mean, if you comefrom a minority community,

you care about small businesses,

you careabout economic opportunity,

you care about public education.

We weren't talkingabout those things.

We were only talkingabout blacks and Latinos

in the context of violence,and that seems already

like a problematic framework.

In terms of the debate itself,

you look at the two candidatesstanding up on stage,

and they represent, it seems,all of America--

the two sides,and then maybe the undecided.

You moderated a forum

with the third party candidates,

-Mm-hmm. -Gary Johnsonand Jill Stein-- a lot of people

were saying, well, maybe theyshould have been on the debate.

Two questions.Do you think they deserve

to be on the debate stage?

And secondly, what could theyhave added to the debate?

So, we did two forums-- onewith the Green Party candidates,

one withthe Libertarian candidates.

I think it is worth asking

why the presidential debatecommittee sets the threshold

as 15% in a national poll.

You don't wina presidential election

by winning the popular vote.

You win on a state-by-stateelectoral basis.

So it mightactually make more sense

to look at states like Colorado,Pennsylvania, Ohio,

and ask: Is this persondoing a decent job

of showing up there?

Does Gary Jonson thus deservea spot on that stage?

So on one hand,I think you would talk...

you would see much moreof the scope of America,

of America's political ideologyby having them on stage,

and at the same time,it is most likely

going to come down to DonaldTrump and Hillary Clinton,

and having them side by side,even in...

I mean, they ran over the courseof 90 minutes, right?

-Yeah. -That wasn'tenough time for them.

So eventually, you do need itjust to be the two of them.

Well, it wasn't enough timefor them,

and I think this conversationneeds more time,

but unfortunately,that's all we've got time for.

Thank you so muchfor being here.

Alicia Menendez, everybody.

All Shows