Madeleine Sheehan foresees a bleak future for minority Americans under the torturous reign of Trump
SAN FRANCISCO, United States — The lives of minority Americans and police brutality earned its own section during the first presidential debate (26/09/16) between Republican candidate, Donald Trump and Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton.
Based on the answers given by Trump, the future looks rather bleak for both African-Americans and Latino Americans.
Clinton introduced the segment, emphatically saying trust needs to be restored between the police and communities. How can this be done? Clinton, a former Secretary of State, proposed systematic criminal justice reform, including the retraining of American police forces and reforms to their authoritative methods.
The former First Lady insisted the public must be respected by the law, and in turn, must respect the law. She argued the public, and police officers, need to unite together with the common goal of eradicating crime. This included, in her view, removing guns from the hands of people who do not ‘deserve’ them.
However, multi-millionaire business magnate, Donald Trump responded by highlighting that America needs “law and order”, whilst accusing Clinton of refusing to use the term. Trump went on to list endorsements from multiple police groups, with no mention of endorsements or support from African American or Latino communities.
In an attempt to reach out to African-American voters, Trump pointed out that inner city African-Americans “are living in hell” and as a country this must be stopped. However, Trump’s solution to these killings is to bring back Stop and Frisk – a controversial practice which allows police to stop any person (statistically primarily minorities) on the street and frisk them for illegal possessions – because “it worked well.” He eluded to his controversial immigrant stance by stating gangs “are made up of illegal immigrants.”
To finish the segment, Trump argued that African Americans had been “badly abused” by politicians to gain votes, stating he had been out to meet many African Americans who were frustrated by politicians. He criticized Clinton for not traveling to meet the African Americans this last week, saying she “stayed home.” Clinton ended the segment by responding “I think Donald just criticized me for preparing for this debate, and yes I did. And you know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be president.” She was met with loud applause from the audience that had been told to remain silent during the debate.
The issue of race was brought up a couple more times during the night. It was brought up when the moderator asked Trump about his birther movement. Clinton argued that Trump started his political career on the birther lie “that our first black president wasn’t American.” She reminded the audience that Trump was sued twice by the Department of Justice in the 1970’s for discriminating against minority rent applicants in New York and Virginia. In some cases, their applications were marked “C” for “coloured.”
After saying he’d done a great service to the American voters by making Obama reveal his birth certificate (unclear how that was a great service, as the certificate only revealed that Trump was wrong – Obama was born in the United States), Trump acknowledged the lawsuit. He argued however, that he settled the lawsuits “with no admission of guilt.” That however, does not mean he was not guilty of the crime. The very fact he settled suggests that he was guilty but did not want the case to go to court, because he would have likely lost.
Trump continued on to give a story about a nightclub he opened in the “very tough” neighbourhood of Palm Beach, Florida, which he corrected to say was a “very wealthy” area. Which one is true is not clear. He stated he was commended for opening the club because it did not discriminate against people. How that deserves praise is unclear, as it is simply following the law. The segment ended after that.
Expecting Donald Trump to make many false claims and lies during the night, Hillary Clinton announced in her opening statement that her website had been turned into a fact checker for the night. She encouraged everyone to check the website where her political campaign would be exposing Trump’s lies under the title “Literally Trump”, and her facts, as they came up during the night. True to her word, her website proved very helpful, with full sources to any statement made by her or Trump.
Madeleine Sheehan is a contributing Politics writer and sociologist based out in San Fransisco, USA.