I started to pay attention to politics more seriously during the 2012 election. This year, I have been on the fringe so far, fed up like many of my fellow Americans with the two party system and the dearth of new ideas. Overall, I felt like Secretary Clinton did come across as over rehearsed as she waited patiently to give her elevator speech on Mr. Trump's falling short in the past with women and minorities (in both cases she had to go back 20-40 years). Mr. Trump lived up to his reputation of stirring up his base, but was surprisingly civil in his rebuke of Secretary Clinton's policy decisions as a Senator and as Secretary of State. He failed to take the cheap shots that have led to the perception of not being "Presidential."
All questions paraphrased
Question 1: Despite six years of job growth and rising incomes, there is significant income inequality and Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. How do create jobs that put more money in more pockets?
This was all media rhetoric on more people going to college, equal pay for equal work, fair trade deals and tax incentives for business.
I don't agree that college training in the answer, for many of my fellow Americans, high school was a waste of time, but more trade schools and a stronger manufacturing sector with good wages is an answer. I agree with equal pay for equal work and improved family leave for your first 3 children. It is an arbitrary cap but corporations are not in place to provide 6 years of income with no work for families who choose to have 12 children.
Trade deals and tax incentives are linked. I agree with a consumption tax or value added tax and higher sales tax. I think corporate tax code and individual tax code needs to be thrown out the window and go back to 3 tax brackets with no deductions, loopholes, etc. Unfortunately too many tax lawyers would be out of work. However, a low corporate tax rate and competent workers that can create a business with a positive income statement is the answer.
Question 2: Tax cuts for the wealthy or tax increase for the wealthy
Invoking Reagan and "trumped up" trickle down economics was pretty ridiculous. However, the incentive to create domestic jobs being tax breaks on the wealthy was weak also. Everybody knows the more you make, the more lawyers you should hire and the fewer taxes you should pay.
I go back to a implementing a one page tax code to make things fair and bring transparency to Washington. Without loopholes and deductions, we will not have bubbles, special interests and lobbyists.
Question 3: How do you heal the divide on race relations in America?
This was a great question and I think both candidates appealed to their base and got undecided voters thinking. Secretary Clinton focused on improving communities. Mr. Trump got going on "Law & Order" and brought up stop and frisk.
My Dad was racially profiled in the 60's and early 70's. When this young, brown man drove his 1968 Camaro around Philadelphia he was repeatedly stopped, harassed and sent on his way after producing license and registration.
I would hate to live in a stop and frisk world. I believe there will be more confrontations with law enforcement, but violent crime would eventually go down, as would community relations.
I think income equality goes a long way towards healing the racial divide. We also need to do more to attract underrepresented races to law enforcement. Adequately trained neighborhood watches similar to the National Guard could go a long way as well, especially if everyone finishing college had to do a mandatory 2 years.
Question 4: Securing America against Cyber Attacks.
As a security professional, I was obviously disappointed by the candidates turning it around on state sponsored actors and the general lack of understanding of cyber security. I did not care for Mr. Trump invoking the image of the 400# man in his basement or poking at what hackers discovered about the Democratic National Committee and Bernie Sanders.
That being said, personal cyber defense should be taught in school the same way public schools used to teach home economics and personal finance. Companies need to invest in cyber security. The government can help by establishing security protocols rather than regulation. I appreciate NIST and the NSA establishing security protocols. I like the convenience of free wifi. However, I know the limitation and the public sector, private sector and individuals need to educate themselves on the limitations of current standard practices. While locked doors will not stop thieves, a welcome sign will not deter them.
Question 5: Nuclear policy
I thought this question was a red herring. I was ignorant of the first strike policy. Per the Wall Street Journal, "The Obama administration will release a new national nuclear-weapons strategy Tuesday that makes only modest changes to U.S. nuclear forces, leaving intact the longstanding U.S. threat to use nuclear weapons first, even against non-nuclear nations."
I agree with leaving all options on the table. Further I agree that the next nuclear bomb will likely be deployed by actors securing weapons from a failed state. This is a tough question and I have no answer.
I think either candidate can be trusted with the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
Question 6: Will you accept the outcome of the election?
Worst question of the debate. However, I prefer Secretary Clinton's answer of respecting the democratic process.
Let's see how October 4th goes. I am curious to get to know the Vice Presidential candidates.
Finally I am disappointed that Gary Johnson did not get a voice on the debate stage. I am not as disappointed by Jill Stein not getting a voice, mostly because I believe her policies are unicorns and rainbows.