Quantcast
Connect with us

Trump vs. Clinton: Here are three key moments from the second debate

Published

on

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton took the debate stage Sunday evening. We asked three scholars from the Washington University in St. Louis, where the debate was held, to pick a key quote from the evening and tell us why it was important.

Rebecca Wanzo

“This was locker room talk.” – Trump

ADVERTISEMENT

Donald Trump defended the content of a video leaked from Access Hollywood by saying that his discussion of grabbing and kissing women without their consent is part of an everyday culture of masculinity. Trump reinforced that in the debate, saying that the candidates needed to talk about “more important” issues.

Is it typical for men to brag and joke about sexually assaulting women?

Some studies suggest that a troubling number of men would rape women if they would not be punished. Masculinity scholar Michael Kimmel has written eloquently about how many boys are socialized into “guyland,” which is a “privileged sense that you are special, that the world is there for you to take.” This is the kind of research that supports the claim that a “rape culture” exists.

If we take this scholarship seriously, then Trump may be correct in his statement that we live in a culture where men frequently joke about having, and attempt, sexual contact with women without their consent. Trump has never been convicted of sexual assault, but he has been accused of sexual harassment and violence more than once. However, he stated in the debate that he has never attempted to have sexual contact with a woman absent her consent, drawing a line between action and speech.

ADVERTISEMENT

Even if we choose to believe that the accusations against him, or his own claims about what he has done, are false, we are still left with the question of whether or not the “locker room” defense is a good one. His defense depends on a consistent rhetorical feature of his campaign – attacking “politically correct” speech and embracing racist and sexist speech as evidence of his truth-telling.

In Trump’s campaign, his sexist language has often been excused as part of what men do. Perhaps this tape hit a nerve because it supports what is still a contentious claim to many U.S. citizens bothered by “political correctness” – that how you see and talk about people inevitably has a relationship to what you do to them.

Rebecca Wanzo is author of “The Suffering Will Not Be Televised.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Peter Kastor

“I’m sorry I have to keep saying this, but he lives in an alternative reality.” –Clinton

Clinton said these words in an effort to criticize Trump. But for all the words that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton said tonight, more striking are two words they hardly said at all: Democrat and Republican. That near silence constitutes a striking break from previous debates, and a telling reminder of what makes this campaign so unusual.

The debate was highly personal, with both candidates heaping accusations on each other as individuals. But tonight, Trump and Clinton made clear that each of their candidacies is the logical result of democratizing the nominating process and weakening the importance of the political parties.

ADVERTISEMENT

As a historian of the early American republic, I study and teach about the presidency over its long history. For much of U.S. history, party leaders selected their nominees. This system came into being in the 1820s and 1830s before dying a slow death in mid-20th century and only truly coming to an end in the 1970s.

The system was supposed to be democratic. It replaced the caucus system through which members of Congress, meeting in isolation in Washington, selected nominees in the first quarter of the 19th century. But in the 20th century, the long-standing traditions of party nomination disintegrated in the face of criticisms that it blocked out party members. Critics charged that nominees were chosen in “smoke-filled rooms,” the products of corrupt and secretive deal-making.

Trump secured the nomination by bypassing the leadership of his party. In sharp contrast, Hillary Clinton pursued the presidency by building her strength within the Democratic Party.

ADVERTISEMENT

But, when it came time for the two candidates to debate each other, they turned to a highly personal politics. Parties didn’t matter, only individuals. In an era when Americans are increasingly critical of the two major parties, this debate, for its strange moments, makes perfect sense.

Peter Kastor is author of “William Clark’s World: Describing America in an Age of Unknowns.”

Jeffrey Q. McCune

“Hillary is constantly talking about the inner cities of our country, which are a disaster. Education-wise. Job-wise. Safety-wise. In every way possible, I’m going to help the African Americans, help the Latinos, Hispanics. I am going to help the inner cities.” –Trump

ADVERTISEMENT

Donald Trump has repeated this message across the country, in debates and political rallies. I believe this rhetoric denies the beauty and dynamic culture of “the African-American” and “the Latinos” across the nation.

Most importantly, it positions racial minorities at the center of the landscape of the inner-city, intentionally excluding the role of white people and large corporations in shifting the environmental and cultural dynamics of communities of color.

Why does Donald Trump describe the inner-city as only disastrous? Who does he blame for creating this “disaster?” And, most importantly, what does fixing the inner-city look like for Trump?

ADVERTISEMENT

Sociologists from Mary Patillo to Laurence Ralph have long shown that the realities of crime and poverty in inner-cities are a result of systemic and political decay. What is striking about Trump’s rhetoric is that he pitches the idea of inner-city decay as something he alone can fix, without any clear indicator of an intimate relationship with said communities. The inner-city he continues to imagine in his rhetoric contains the Latina/os, African-Americans and women who, I believe, may take issue with his proposal to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, his bragging of sexual assault and his claims of minorities as always suffering.

Trump’s inability to discuss minority communities beyond despair and decay is evidence of how he imagines black and brown life in America. This treatment of difference, combined with his rhetoric and treatment of women, makes his vow to be a “president for all people” a hard sale.

Jeffrey Q. McCune, Jr. is author of “Sexual Discretion: Black Masculinity and the Politics of Passing.” He is also collecting oral histories of Ferguson for “The Divided City,” an urban humanities initiative.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Conversation

By Jeffrey Q. McCune, Jr., Associate Professor of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Washington University in St Louis; Peter Kastor, Professor of History & American Culture Studies, Washington University in St Louis, and Rebecca Wanzo, Associate Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Washington University in St Louis

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and legal efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. And unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from billionaires and corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click to donate by check.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



Report typos and corrections to: [email protected]. Send news tips to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump approves of North Korea missile tests: ‘I have no problem’ because they’re just ‘short-range missiles’

Published

on

On Thursday, in conversation with reporters, President Donald Trump said that he had 'no problem' with North Korea's new round of missile tests.

"Short-range missiles, we never made an agreement on that," said Trump. "I have no problem, we'll see what happens, but these are short-range missiles. They're very standard."

The thought that short-range missiles would still be capable of hitting our allies in the region, like South Korea and Japan, does not seem to have occurred to him.

Watch below:

Trump says he has "no problem" with North Korea testing missiles because they are just "short-range missiles" that are "very standard." pic.twitter.com/fdKtQ6yrBE

Continue Reading

Elections 2016

Russian Twitter propaganda predicted 2016 US election polls

Published

on

When Robert Mueller completed his long-awaited investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, he left many questions unanswered.

But one conclusion was unequivocal: Russia unleashed an extensive campaign of fake news and disinformation on social media with the aim of distorting U.S. public opinion, sowing discord and swinging the election in favor of the Republican candidate Donald Trump.

Continue Reading
 

Elections 2016

Beto O’Rourke calls for a ‘war tax’ in release of health care plan for veterans

Published

on

The Democratic presidential candidate uses his eighth policy announcement to focus on an area that he prioritized in Congress.

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke on Monday morning released a plan to improve the lives of veterans, returning to an area of priority during his time in the U.S. House for his latest 2020 policy rollout.

In keeping with measures he supported in Congress, the plan calls for a "responsible end" to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — reinvesting $1 out of every $2 saved in veterans programs — and the creation of a Veterans Health Care Trust Fund for each future war. The fund would be paid for by a "war tax" on households without service members or veterans.

Continue Reading
 
 

Thank you for whitelisting Raw Story!

As a special thank you, from now until August 31st, we're offering you a discounted rate of $5.99/month to subscribe and get ad-free access. We're honored to have you as a reader. Thank you. :) —Elias, Membership Coordinator
LEARN MORE
close-link
close-image