Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton pause during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, on October 9, 2016. File picture: Rick Wilking

It is time to see Donald Trump address some real issues in the final debate before D-day on November 8, writes US student Aishwarya Kumar.

Johannesburg - If you thought the release of the 2005 tape of Donald Trump gloating about sexual assault and the discussion of that tape in second presidential debate was crazy, think twice.

After the debate, several women shared their stories of alleged sexual assault by Trump.

You might think, “What if the women got their ammo from the tape leak and the whole thing has been orchestrated?”

But did you notice how women talked about US Republican presidential candidate Trump “just starting to kiss them?” Isn’t that exactly what he said in the tape?

Another reason every single one of those stories seem real is because they give you the same eerie ‘a guy is watching me’ feeling that the tape gave you. And trust me, gut feeling is important in this case.

Amidst all this, Trump went to rally after rally and spoke about how he would Make America Great Again, and the hashtag MAGA began trending all over again.

And oh, apparently Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton “took performance enhancing drugs before the second debate,” according to I-will-say-whatever-I-want Trump.

She was tired at the end of the debate because she tried her best to deflect your false claims while still trying to address the issues at hand. Go figure.

All this just days before the two presidential nominees take the stage together for one last time before the D-day on November 8.

The ethical issues have already arisen. Chris Wallace, Fox News Sunday’s anchor, is moderating the final debate (which happens at 3am South African time on October 20).

Wallace has a deep relationship with Roger Ailes, who is now advising Trump on the debates. Is this a conflict of interest? Absolutely. But can Wallace be fair and objective? I’d think so, based on his previous interviews with Trump and Clinton.

Can we, for a change, see some actual issues being addressed instead of “crooked Hillary rigged the elections”, “The media is on Hillary’s side,” and “I will put Hillary in jail if I become the next president of the United States?”

Here are some issues I'd like to see on the docket for the debate:

Climate change: I’ve had enough of Donald Trump saying climate change is a ‘hoax’ created by China. Climate change is real and the means to combat it need to be addressed. A direct question is yet to be asked about it in the debates.

Clinton did try to address the issue in the second debate when Trump stampeded all over her and talked about how she has had 30 years of bad decisions to her name. Get real, Trump. Sit down with your advisors and figure out where you stand. Clinton does have solid plans: installation of solar panels, reduce oil consumption and cut energy waste by a third. Now it’s time to hear more about how she is going to accomplish this.

Immigration: We all know where Trump stands on this - build a border wall withMexico, end sanctuary cities and keep out refugees and immigrants through rigorous vetting. Okay, can we know how you are going to get sanction to build a wall across the southern border of America? And when you say “conduct ideology tests,” how would you find out if the potential immigrants and refugees are telling the truth?

America is built on the concept of diversity. No American is actually from America except for Native Americans. America is what it is because of immigrants from Europe, Asia, Africa etc. Enlighten me how you are more American than the six American immigrants who won the 2016 Nobel Prize for your country?

“I think the United States is what it is today largely because of open borders,” said Sir J Fraser Stoddart, Scottish-born, naturalised American citizen and 2016 Nobel Chemistry Prize winner.

Clinton’s stance on the other hand is built on the concept of “eligibility.” If an employer in the US finds an immigrant worthy of the job, if he does well in the job and contributes to the growth of the US economy, he should be able to apply for citizenship and be naturalised. I absolutely agree with that. Also, building walls and banning Muslims will only prevent America from having friendly relationships with Muslim countries to fight terrorism, another reason why Clinton’s plan is definitely more nuanced and well-thought out.

The economy: Trump’s only constant mantra on this front: I will reduce immigration and imports and create new jobs. How? I don’t think even he knows. He also talked about major tax cuts, renegotiating trade agreements (Apparently NAFTA was the “worst deal signed by Hillary”). Although some experts say trade is Trump’s only favourable talking point, we will need specifics on what he has in mind when it comes to trade negotiations and tax cuts - that is, if he knows what he is going to do, of course.

While Trump’s view for America is ‘the rich get richer and the rest of the country will follow suit,’ Clinton aims to help the middle class: Increasing minimum wage, on-the-job training, popularising community college education and bringing more women in the work force by providing child care facilities and paid maternity leave. This could work very well in her favour if she is more assertive during her proposal and is successful in her rebuttal of Trump’s false claims.

Foreign policy: Clinton and Trump have very different ideas when it comes to foreign policy. While Clinton wants to work with United States’ allies to remove Isis from Syria instead of sending in ground troops, Trump suggests aggressive bombing of Isis.

Clinton said she would work with the Middle East to help remove dangerous raw materials that would help build nuclear weapons in Iran through the sanctions she put in place during her term as secretary of state. Trump ridiculed the Iran deal and said America handed Iran $150 billion through the Iran Nuclear Deal which would help them fund plans to build nuclear weapons from within.

It looks like Clinton is taking a ‘let’s work together’ approach while Trump wants to control the world through fear. I’ll let you decide which the better option is.

Candidate’s fitness to serve as president: This is a slam dunk for Clinton. 30 years in the helm of mainstream politics in the United States vs. a businessman punk who doesn’t know the meaning of “locker-room talk.” At least if he was a successful businessman with good work ethics, I might respect him. He declared bankruptcy six times. This, on top of not releasing his tax return statements despite being cleared to do so.

All Clinton has to do at the debate to answer this question is give her magnificent and sarcastic smile, while rolling her eyes at Trump. And maybe her famous shoulder jiggle that somehow made Trump look smaller.

* Aishwarya Kumar is a student at Northwestern University in Chicago and part of the Medill News Service. She is currently an intern at The Star newspaper.

** The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Independent Media.

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