Tonight’s debate is being moderated by ABC News’ Martha Raddatz and CNN anchor Anderson Cooper. So there is no real hope of fairness and objectivity as both have a history of listing politically leftward in their journalism — like practically every other journalist. There will be gotcha questions for Donald Trump (Lester Holt asked four) and none for Hillary Clinton (Holt asked zero.)
So in the spirit of providing a little help for the liberal side, The Revolutionary Act is offering some questions that could help the moderators balance their debate performance. These are suggested from a former journalist who covered presidential campaigns, but who lists politically rightward.
We know the first question will be based on the latest brouhaha — the video of Donald Trump using vulgar language in talking about women 11 years ago. Fair enough. It is dominating the news and social media. But this actually offers the opportunity to ask Hillary Clinton a similar question. The moderators need no help in asking tough questions of Trump, so this list is just for Clinton.
Here we go:
- Secretary Clinton, Continuing on the question of character and sexual misconduct, the mistreatment of women has become an issue in this campaign. You are a strong defender of women’s rights. But your husband, former President Bill Clinton, has admitted to having sexual affairs and is alleged to have sexually abused women in the 80s and the 90s. In a recent, powerful interview, Juanita Broderick details what she calls your husband’s rape of her. Kathleen Willey recently reiterated that your husband sexually assaulted her. Many other women came forward over the years. While he is not running for office, it has been widely reported that you were part of what was called the “Bimbo Eruption” unit engaged in discrediting and intimidating these alleged victims into silence. Can you explain this, and how it lines up with your defense of women and stance that women should always be believed when reporting sexual abuse?
- Secretary Clinton, Wikileaks has released a new batch of emails it alleges you sent that include speeches you gave to Wall Street firms for large payments. They allege that you dream of a day when there is “open trade and open borders.” Do you believe the United States should have open borders and open trade.
- Secretary Clinton, Would you support requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales and what will you do to protect American’s Second Amendment right? And does protecting the Second Amendment play into who you would appoint to the Supreme Court?
- Secretary Clinton, Criticisms of the criminal justice system stem from your husband’s time in office — including the expansion of the proactive “broken windows” policing nationwide and the passage of mandatory minimum sentencing laws. We now have the highest incarceration rates ever. You have apologized for using the word “superpredator” to describe gang members in the 1990s. Why did you change your mind and what reforms from the 1990s would you reform now?
- Secretary Clinton, The Associated Press reported that Clinton Foundation’s donors made up more than half of your meetings as secretary of state. Can you explain that? And can you also explain for the average American voter why you had a separate, unsecured email server, multiple Blackberries and then wiped the server clean and had the Blackberries destroyed with a hammer before FBI investigators would examine? Was there any relationship to the Clinton Foundation?
- You are proposing seven weeks of government-mandated paid family leave for parents, expanding Social Security, expanding early childhood education and so on. Each of these programs expand the size and the scope of government involvement that many Americans already say is too large. Do you believe that the federal government is not big enough now? Are there any areas of government you would cut back on or eliminate, or are all your proposals to expand government
- You ask that the rich pay their fair share and you propose increasing the tax rates on the nation’s wealthiest individuals. The Congressional Budget Office recently reported that the top 20 percent of income earners pay an average of $57,700 in federal taxes; the next 20 percent pay $2,600 and the 60 percent rest of Americans receive net transfer of payments to them of between $8,000 and $12,000. Are you saying that the wealthy are not paying their fair share? And if so, what is the ideal amount more for them to pay to be fair?
- You want to make college debt-free? But several studies have shown that one of the primary drivers of college tuition and fee increases has been the guaranteed payments of the federal government through loans and grants. Would your proposal make college even more expensive and be burdensome to taxpayers?
- Like most political leaders, you oppose banks being too big to fail. But the Dodd-Frank bill reforming the banking system seems to have created even fewer, larger banks, potentially meaning that the risk is greater now than before the financial collapse. Do you support Dodd-Frank?
Below are three legitimate issue questions Lester Holt could have asked in the first presidential debate based on Hillary Clinton’s “experience,” but could be asked tonight. Any one of these would suffice.
- As Secretary of State, you chose to put a diplomatic mission in Benghazi when it was a known hotspot for Al Qaeda terrorist. And then it was given minimal security. Why was Ambassador Stevens operating there and not in the security Embassy in Tripoli? A great tragedy resulted. Does this bring into question your judgment on foreign policy?
- Now that we see that the Syrian War has turned into a genocide, created a spawning ground for ISIS, given Russia a strong toehold in the Middle East, and resulted in the displacement of millions of refugees to surrounding countries, Europe and the United States, did you and the Obama Administration make the right decision to do nothing early on in support of the rebels against President Assad? And does this bring into question your judgment on foreign policy?
- As Secretary, you were the architect for the Russian reset to improve U.S.-Russian relations. Yet by any measurement, our relations with Russia are at their worst since the Cold War, with part of the Crimea gone and troops in Syria. Given the apparent failure of this policy, does this bring into question your judgment on foreign policy?