Saturday 20th January 2018,


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Asian American Perspectives on Clinton-Trump Debate

posted by Randall

Clinton-Trump Debate 1By Ed Diokno

It was an unusual Presidential debate – to say the least – between Sec. Hillary Clinton and real estate magnate Donald Trump.

Early polls taken immediately after the debate at Hofstra University, showed that the Democratic candidate crushed the GOP presidential bet. It was clear that Clinton was better prepared and Trump’s off-the-cuff style couldn’t match Clinton’s steady barrage of attacks on his tax returns, business dealings, and his lack of knowledge of international affairs. Trump’s penchant for denying earlier statements was often refuted by his opponent and by Holt, who did a fairly good job of reining in Trump’s often rambling responses.


Surprisingly, the 90-minute debate moderated by NBC journalist Lester Holt, didn’t seem to be enough time to cover all the issues. Holt did not ask a single question on immigration and The Wall on the Mexico-U.S. border that has become a major part of Trump’s campaign. Perhaps sometimes in the next two debate the topic will come up.

There was no mention of banning Muslims or refugees either even though Trump’s proposed policy stirred up a hornets’ nest of controversy over the past year.

On the question about race relations, Clinton talked about the “implicit bias” that all of us must overcome; the need to restore trust between the community and police, fixing the criminal justice system and “We gotta get guns out of the hands of people who should not have them.”

Trump’s response was to make “stop and frisk” a national strategy to stop the killings and slow crime even though the New Yorker said it leads to racial profiling and the courts have ruled the policy unconstitutional. “We need law and order,” he said. 

The closest the candidates touched on Asian affairs was when Trump mentioned he would make Japan and South Korea, along with the NATO nations pay for their own defense. He would renegotiate the defense treaties with those countries.  And there was Trump’s opening line:

Clinton also brought up one of Trump’s tweets in which he claimed China made up climate change to hurt U.S. industry. Trump denied it but it’s true. Here it is, below!

There was barely a mention of Latinos and Asian Americans and Native Americans were not mentioned at all. Granted, the shooting of unarmed African Americans and the ensuing protests grab the big headlines, but perhaps someone could have said something about the growing  phobia promoted by Trump’s campaign rhetoric. I guess, it is still a Black & White world for most of America, as noted by Bay Area journalist Emil Guillermo.


Reactions from Asian Americans were not surprising, considering that the majority of Asian Americans lean towards the Democrats.


The debate held at Hofstra University in New York is the first of three debates between the presidential candidates. Immigration, refugees, diversity or affirmative action will surely be a topic in one of those debates, right?



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