New York Times
By Alan Rappeport
October 20, 2016
The three presidential debates had no shortage of discussion about groping, beauty queens and Twitter habits. A question on energy policy this month was memorable only because it gave rise to a meme about the red sweater sported by the voter, Ken Bone, who asked it. Even on Wednesday, when the moderator made policy a priority, the discussion between Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton remained skin deep.
Lost in the bluster and bombast has been the kind of detailed policy talk that traditionally consumes candidates this time of year. While onstage stalking and shimmying kept body-language experts busy, many who care about tax policy, immigration, health care and climate change were left with little to chew on.
Undecided voters curious where the candidates stood on American relations with Israel or their views on the Keystone XL oil pipeline were left to look elsewhere. But even the subjects that did come up didn’t result in robust discussions of how the nation’s most pressing problems should be solved.
Following are some of the issues that got short shrift.
Debate audiences have heard much jousting over how little Mr. Trump has paid in income taxes, but far less about how much voters will have to pay if he or Mrs. Clinton is elected.
Mr. Trump accused her of wanting a big tax increase; Mrs. Clinton said his tax plan would send the country spinning into a recession. A minor tussle about the future of “carried interest” was pretty much it: more finger food than main course.
“It’s been largely lacking,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “He says, ‘I want to cut taxes, she wants to raise them.’ They haven’t focused on the specifics.”
Mr. Norquist, who prefers Mr. Trump’s tax plan, has been clamoring to hear more about how it will help businesses and spur economic growth. And why was no attention paid to the taxation of companies in the “sharing economy,” like Uber and Airbnb?
The construction of a wall along the United States’ border with Mexico has been a centerpiece of Mr. Trump’s campaign, and an immigration overhaul is an important priority for Mrs. Clinton, yet the topic received scant attention.
Mr. Trump promised to get “bad hombres” out of the country. But little light was shed on how he or Mrs. Clinton would prioritize the removal of undocumented immigrants, or what must be done differently to secure the border beyond existing measures.
“Voters are owed a detailed description of how we should move toward comprehensive immigration reform,” said Michael Dear, a University of California at Berkeley professor who has researched the feasibility of a border wall.
The Supreme Court
The future of the Supreme Court is one of the biggest concerns among Republicans and Democrats, but only cursory commentary was given to the sorts of questions that the court, and any new justices the next president appoints, may have to consider.
“Of all the issues, this is the one place where the election can have a clear and instant effect,” said Julian E. Zelizer, a history professor at Princeton University.
Mrs. Clinton has said that Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama’s pick to fill the current vacancy, should be approved by the current Congress, but she still has not been clear about how she would handle his nomination if she is elected and he has not yet been confirmed. On Wednesday night, she spoke only generally about how she would appoint judges who would stand up for the American people.
Republicans have been fighting to repeal the Affordable Care Act since President Obama signed it into law, but in 2016 it has become something of an afterthought.
Mr. Trump wants to replace the health law with something, he says, that “works.” Mrs. Clinton has acknowledged that parts of the law need fixing, but said nothing specific about how she would curb rising health care costs.
“The surprise has been the nonexistent discussion of how to contain prescription drug prices,” said John Rother, president of the National Coalition on Health Care.
Still, Mr. Rother said he sympathized with the desire to keep things simple. “Hillary has to be cautious given her history and her wonk tendencies,” he said, “and Trump is uninformed on health policy.”
With so little focus on deficits, the national debt and funding for Social Security, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce wrote to Chris Wallace, the moderator of Wednesday’s debate, imploring him to press the candidates about their plans.
“We have heard very little to this point,” the chamber wrote, adding that “what we have heard has been distressing, with the candidates proposing to either do nothing or actually expand (rather than reform) these programs.”
At the debate, Mr. Trump said that his tax cuts would stimulate economic growth and finance entitlement programs. Mrs. Clinton said that she would tax the rich and reduce entitlement spending by making “harder decisions.” But the discussion ran aground when Mrs. Clinton, in an aside, poked at Mr. Trump over his tax avoidance, and he called her a “nasty woman.”
Climate change might be one of the most consequential issues facing the planet, but it barely got a mention in the three 90-minute presidential debates: Fewer than five and a half minutes all told, according to the environmental website Grist.
Mrs. Clinton hit Mr. Trump for suggesting that global warming was a “hoax” perpetrated by the Chinese, yet she offered few solutions beyond the deployment of more solar panels. Mr. Trump underscored his support for domestic drilling and burning coal, and in the second debate he dismissed alternative energy sources by saying the United States could not be powered by wind and solar energy alone.
So little attention was paid to climate change that some activists took matters into their own hands. The Yale School of Environmental Studies published a guide on social media about what Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump have said about energy and the environment to help voters judge for themselves.
For more information, go to: www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com