The first presidential debate is in the books. The easy analysis is that Hillary Clinton looked presidential and Donald Trump looked like…Donald Trump. Let’s dig a little deeper into what went down on the debate stage Monday night. Specifically, let’s look at what the candidates said that should scare the shit out of you if you’re a young person. Even though Hillary was by far the most presidential candidate on stage, both contenders said things that shouldn’t sit right with young people. There are a lot of things that were discussed that you should be scared of and, of course, none of them are the things that Donald Trump thinks you should be scared of. Here’s what scared the shit out of us at the first presidential debate.
“[Stop and frisk] worked very well in New York. It brought the crime rate way down.” — Donald Trump
At best, the policy of “stop and frisk,” which allows the police to stop pedestrians and search them for contraband, stretches the definition of probable cause. Regardless of how you look at it, stop and frisk is effectively racial profiling, and that is how black and Latino communities see it. It is also how several courts have seen it. Despite that fact that New York has outlawed the tactic and several other cities have found the practice to be a failure, Donald Trump has situated “stop and frisk” at the center of his policies on crime. It is scary that a major party candidate would advocate this practice on a national level in 2016. Not only are targets disproportionately people of color, but they are also disproportionately young men.
“His cavalier attitude about nuclear weapons is so deeply troubling.” — Hillary Clinton
It’s difficult to feel great about either candidate’s foreign policy plans. Even Clinton’s allies call her hawkish while Trump’s combination of ignorance and braggadocio is absolutely a dangerous combination in a world leader. Nowhere does Trump sound as crazy as when he’s talking about nuclear weapons. There was a confusing exchange in the debate where nuclear capabilities of countries like Japan were discussed. This was in reference to a comment Trump made earlier this year, believing that nuclear proliferation would be something he’d pursue as commander-in-chief. He has suggested that Japan arm itself with nuclear weapons, something the Japanese have been hesitant to do since, you know, we bombed them. The Japanese know the human cost.
“The gun epidemic is the leading cause of death of young African-American men.” — Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton cited this disturbing statistic in hopes of framing the gun debate as a public health issue. It’s scary and sad that this is considered a significant change in how we approach the issue. She also found a way to frame the gun debate in a way conservatives might understand: “Our police are outgunned,” she said. “We need comprehensive background checks. Let's keep terrorists from getting guns." But these perspectives, from public health to terror prevention, continue to go nowhere. It should scare Millennials that Hillary is having the same conversations her husband was having 25 years ago. A large segment of the population continues to view guns merely as an issue of individual liberty, and the rest of us will continue to mourn tragedies as long as things stay that way.
“I was totally against the war in Iraq.” — Donald Trump
Millennials were drawn to Bernie Sanders’ campaign because he championed honesty in politics. Both debaters demonstrated why so many young people were drawn the Vermont Senator’s ideals of transparency. On several occasions, Hillary retreated to her usual parsing of words to avoid being pinned down. For example, her explanation of her change of heart on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) left a lot to be desired. Of course, Hillary’s sins pale in comparison to Trump’s outright lies. On issues of stop and frisk’s constitutionality, his support of the Iraq War, and whether he said Clinton looked “presidential,” he brought the debate to a halt to lie and then double down when called out on it.