The Varsity

The University of Toronto's Student Newspaper Since 1880

Presidential prizefight


on October 16, 2016

Though jabs were made on both sides, Clinton easily wins the first debate on policy questions

The first of three United States presidential election debates took place on September 26. This was also the first face-off between the two presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, which gave audiences the opportunity to see them go head to head.

The two candidates debated on a wide array of issues, from trade and security to Trump’s tax returns and Clinton’s emails — the issue of Trump questioning President Obama’s citizenship even made an appearance.

Trump scored some points by bringing up Clinton’s email scandal and by accusing her of thinking of solutions to political problems only after 30 years of dealing first-hand with American politics. However, as the night went on, it became evident that Trump had not prepared sufficiently for the debate. At some point, he even mocked Clinton for preparing in advance, to which she fired back with the snap-worthy response, “And you know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be president.”

As the debate proceeded, Trump resorted to character shaming, lying and denying, and discourteously interrupting his opponent throughout the night, all while continuously sniffing.

In the clash over policy issues, Clinton emerged the clear winner.

Clinton criticized what she calls Trump’s “trumped-up trickle-down economics,” which aims at producing jobs by favouring wealthy businesses via tax reduction. Clinton also pointed out the architect in the audience whom Donald Trump had refused to pay after he had done work for him.

In response to Clinton’s criticisms regarding trickle-down economics, Trump did not deny supporting economic policies that ultimately led to the housing crisis and recession of 2008. This should raise serious concerns among voters about his judgement regarding the American economy.

Clinton further escalated her attacks against her rival by accusing him of a lack of trustworthiness and good judgment, both of which are prerequisites of serving as the next commander-in-chief of the US. She maintained that “a man who can be provoked by a tweet should not have his fingers anywhere near the nuclear codes.”

Clinton’s claims that Trump is not trustworthy hold water — for instance, despite ample evidence to the contrary, Trump said that he never supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003, attributing these accusations to “mainstream media nonsense.”

It is no secret that Clinton did an incredible job unnerving her opponent and getting under his skin. The former secretary of state is capable of outsmarting and outclassing her rival.

Maryam Rahimi Shahmirzadi is a third-year student at St. Michael’s College studying Political Science and International Relations.

Who won the first debate?

Hillary Clinton
Donald Trump

Poll Maker


Trump once again proves he is not fit for the presidency in the second debate 

As a dual American-Canadian citizen, I have a pretty major stake in the upcoming presidential election. I watch the debates with a great deal of interest and trepidation over the possibility that Donald Trump may become the next president of the United States.

The Toronto Star recently reported that he made 33 false claims during the second debate, which took place on October 9. Aside from downright inaccuracy, a number of key points that arose during this debate further prove that Trump is wholly unfit for the presidency.

Firstly, contrary to what he may say, Trump demonstrated he is far from a “gentleman” in this debate. Early on in the debate, an audience member posed a question to both candidates. Clinton offered Trump the chance to go first, but he declined, saying that he is a “gentleman.” Yet, he spent much of the debate interrupting Clinton and complaining that she got more speaking time than he did — she didn’t.

Trump’s manners, however, are a relatively minor concern in comparison to the deplorable way he has behaved toward women. As debate moderator Anderson Cooper put it, Trump “bragged that [he had] sexually assaulted women.” And despite his claims that this was mere “locker room talk,” it is without question that in the 2005 video released last week, Trump bragged about grabbing a woman’s genitalia without consent. Since then, many women have come forward with accounts of Trump having sexually assaulted them.

In response to questions surrounding his taxes, Trump stated that Clinton should have been responsible for closing any loopholes that would have allowed him to avoid paying his dues while she was senator. Not only did Clinton vote to do exactly that, but Trump doesn’t seem to understand that a senator, especially one working under a president who disagrees with them, cannot single-handedly enact the kind of change he described.

This lack of basic understanding of the American legislative process is disturbing.

Any Canadians watching the debate may also have noticed that Trump brought up the Canadian health care system, calling it “catastrophic” and claiming that Canadians often come into the US for medical procedures because Canada’s system is so slow. While it’s true that waiting times can be longer for certain procedures in Canada, his claim that many Canadians would travel to the US for treatment is likely overstated, since out-of-pocket costs for health care in the US are far too high to justify the trip for most Canadians. Canadians also took to Twitter to defend their health care system during the debate, pointing out instances whereby public health care in Canada had major positive impacts on their families.

Trump’s repeated denouncement of the Affordable Care Act — more commonly known as ‘Obamacare’ — and of how the current administration is fighting ISIS and virtually all other policies under the Obama administration is reflective of the fact that he finds plenty to criticize but is unable to offer any tangible solutions of his own. US citizens would be wise to keep this in mind on voting day.

Adina Heisler is a second-year student at University College studying Women and Gender Studies and English.

Who won the second debate?



Hillary Clinton


Donald Trump




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Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the date of the United States’ invasion of Iraq.