The race for president heated up last weekend with two well-known surrogates standing in for the two leading candidates before a vocal and highly-engaged crowd during a debate held in at Inglewood’s Faithful Central Tabernacle.
Larry Elder, representing Donald Trump, faced off against Roland Martin of TV One’s “News One Now” representing Hillary Clinton with CNN contributor and television journalist Tara Wall serving as the moderator of the nearly three-hour presentation.
The debate and community forum preceded the second nationally televised town-hall style meeting of Clinton and Trump held Oct. 9 at Washington University in St. Louis. The third and final national debate will take place Oct. 19 at Nevada’s UNLV campus. The format will mirror that of the first debate and will be moderated by Chris Wallace of Fox News Channel’s Fox News Sunday.
The Inglewood event was called “Inform Your Vote 2016” and was held in the Tabernacle which seats about 2,500. It attracted an audience slightly in excess of 1,000 people including notables such as former state Sen. Diane Watson, and the crowd had a respectable sprinkling of people who, like Elder, agreed with Trumps views.
Among the highlights of the debate were comments by Elder which said that all Blacks need to do is graduate high school, not have any kids before graduating and get married before having kids, and they will make it.
In terms of criminal justice reform and building trust between the community and law enforcement, Martin said that America needs to reform the biggest “no snitch” policy which he said resides in police departments of the nation, when it comes to telling what they see and know.
Elder countered that the Black Lives Matter movement is the biggest fraud against the community. He added that rather than encouraging young people to question, BLM should suggest that they comply initially and question the breach of their rights, when a situation is less heated.
When it comes to illegal immigration, Martin pushed the need to hold employers accountable by not hiring “cheap labor” that are typically undocumented immigrants.
Elder added that another part of the problem also has to do with the fact that people overstay their visas.
On the economic front, Martin noted the need for increasing the minimum wage.
Elder took the exact opposite approach and said rather than increase the minimum wage, it should be eliminated all together. He called the minimum wage a policy that is “anti-Black” and prices African Americans out of the market. There is no need for a minimum wage for Blacks to be prosperous,” contends Elder.
Another concern brought up at the debate was the concept that Democrats take Black votes “for granted.”
This was a concern that Trump echoed in Sunday’s debate where he accused Clinton and Democrats of going to the Black and Latino communities every four years and talking about the problems but doing nothing to solve them.
But according to Martin, too many African Americans are at the inauguration, waving and partying rather than remaining engaged and applying pressure to make sure their needs are being met, after the election.
During Sunday’s debate Clinton and Trump sniped at one another about apologizing (or not) for their mistreatment (from Clinton to Trump about his comments on women) and from Trump to Clinton (about her actions involving the man she defended for raping a 12-year-old girl during her early legal career.) Trump has also promised that if he is elected president, he will appoint a special prosecutor to try the former New York senator for the 30,000 e-mails she and her staff deleted.
Acknowledging that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has caused innumerable problems for some users, the question was asked what would the candidates do to bring the costs down?
If elected, Clinton vowed to fix the legislation. “I plan to introduce a series of actions to reign in the cost,” said the former secretary of state, while reminding viewers that as a result of the legislation, 20 million Americans who did not have insurance at the time were able to obtain coverage.
Calling Obamacare a disaster that will never work, Trump said if elected he would repeal it and replace it with something that is “much less expensive.”
He also vowed to institute a “single-payer system” and replace the current system with block grants to states.
A member of the audience who described herself as a Muslim asked how will the candidates address the consequences that have arisen because of Islamaphobia and other challenges?
“We are not at war with Muslims,” responded Clinton, adding that she feels Muslims must be included in creating a solution.
Trump said that the ban he is proposing on Muslim immigration, which he called “extreme vetting” is still a policy he stands by. He also said that he would force “criminal aliens” back to their country of origin.
Switching to economics, Trump said he intends to lower the tax rate for everyone from 35 to 15 percent.
Calling this proposal one of the biggest tax cuts in history, Clinton said her plan would not raising taxes on anyone making less than $250,000. But rather than calling it a promise, she has called it a “goal.”
Additionally, Clinton has said she would be fine with a payroll tax hike on all Americans, she has also endorsed a steep soda tax, endorsed a 25 percent national gun tax, and most recently, her campaign manager John Podesta said she would be open to a carbon tax.
The two candidates offered a number of other comments on how to unify what both acknowledge is a divided country; what they are looking for in a supreme court nominee, and dealing with nation’s energy crisis.
The third debate will be divided into six segments of approximately 15 minutes each on major topics to be selected by the moderator and announced at least one week before the debate.
The moderator will open each segment with a question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. Candidates will then have an opportunity to respond to each other. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a deeper discussion of the topic.