The 10 Essential 2016 Presidential Debate Questions

1) What is your stance on Climate Change and what will you do as President to combat this global problem?

Ask this question right out of the gate. It’s real. President Obama has said this is one of the most dire threats we face as a nation, and the overwhelming majority of scientists have not only established that climate change is real, but have pressed government at every opportunity to take steps to address it. Indeed, a group of leading scientists—including Stephen Hawking—just penned a letter asking Americans not to vote for Trump for this very reason. If it isn’t brought up in one of the debates, it will be an absolute disgrace and a grave disservice to the American people—and the planet. This is a question that any truly responsible and objective journalist would ask–if it’s not brought up, you’ll know the fix is in.

2) Should the United States intervene in Syria, and what role do you see the armed forces playing in the world during the next four years?

I’m interested to hear both Clinton and Trump’s views on this issue, but this question serves the double purpose of seeing how much they know about global affairs. My guess is Trump doesn’t know much and might end up pulling a Gary Johnson—wait, where is Aleppo again?

3) As commander-in-chief, what do you plan to do to combat the threat of terrorism during your Presidency?

Trump: extreme vetting, law and order, ban Muslims, build a wall.

Clinton: reasonable increases in FBI and CIA, more strategic tactics.

4) How do you plan to address income and wealth inequality during the next four years as President, and what steps should we take to improve our economy?

If Trump gives us the usual bullshit about cutting taxes and regulations, the moderator must challenge him, citing both how the Bush and Reagan tax cuts added billions to our debt and deficit, and the fact that many corporations—especially the largest—already pay next to nothing in taxes.

Follow up: during the past six years, Congress has refused to spend money rebuilding and investing in our infrastructure—to what extent is infrastructure spending a priority for you, what needs to be done, and how?

5) Do you agree with the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizen’s United (2010), and what, if anything, do you plan to do about addressing campaign spending and money in politics?

Here’s Trump’s chance to be all anti-establishment—except he won’t go as far as Clinton who has said she would nominate justices who would overturn the decision and be in favor of a Constitutional Amendment stating that money isn’t speech and corporations aren’t people.

6) Secretary Clinton, your use of a private server to store emails, as well as the Clinton Foundation’s activities have ongoing issues during this campaign, both of which Mr. Trump and his supporters have been highly critical of—how can Americans be certain that as President, you’ll be forthright and transparent?

Emails, emails, emails, everyone wants to talk emails, so I guess this is fine—Hillary should apologize for the misuse, note that no lasting damage was done, and move on, promising to be accessible and accountable as President. If she’s asked about the email scandal during every debate, you’ll know the fix is in.

7) Mr. Trump, similarly, the Trump foundation has come under fire for making illegal contributions to your campaign, you’re currently involved in a lawsuit regarding whether or not Trump University cheated students out of their tuition, and related to that case, you’ve donated significant sums of money to several state Attorneys General who’ve subsequently dropped charges against Trump University in what could be interpreted as bribery. How can Americans be certain that as President, you’ll use your power of office ethically?

This will probably just piss Trump off and result in a, “it’s so unfair. All these judges are against me. They’re Mexicans and I’m promising to build a wall. I love Bondi—great person. No deal was made…” but it needs to be asked. Given all the scrutiny Clinton’s emails have gotten over more than a year’s time, why the Trump University scandals (either the scam or the pretty clear payoffs) haven’t been talked about more in the media is a complete fucking mystery. If he’s not asked about this stuff during the debates, you’ll know the fix is in.

8) What is your policy on immigration, and what do you plan to do about the estimated 11-12 million immigrants who are now living in the U.S. illegally?

Trump: I’m going to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it. Mexicans are rapists, criminals, yada, yada, yada…

Clinton: come into the light, pay back taxes, reasonable path to citizenship—these are good and decent people.

9) What should be done about the relationship between police and their communities—particularly communities of color—and what do you think about the protest movement “Black Lives Matter?”

Trump: Not good. Police are great people, but not good. I love the blacks. I love the blacks, but what the hell have you got to lose, people? You’re schools are no good, you’ve got no jobs, you’re living in poverty—at least, that’s what they say on Fox News.

Clinton: This guy is a racist who’s supported by the Alt Right movement and David Duke. That’s bad.

10) Every year, nearly 30,000 Americans lose their life at the barrel of a gun. Where do you stand on guns rights and gun violence, and what can be done to prevent mass shootings?

Trump: I love the NRA! Only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun. If we pass laws, criminals will just break them. We shouldn’t have any restrictions. Sick Hillary wants to repeal the Second Amendment! Sometimes bad things happen. Very tragic.

Clinton: I want to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. Terrorists shouldn’t be able to legally buy a gun in this country. The man sitting next to me is a lunatic who’s wholly beholden to the NRA.

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About The Author: Jay Scott

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