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Trinity Straw Poll: The Debates!


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We took a straw poll of opinions of the Trinity community about the presidential debates and Whoa!  You had a LOT to say about the debates, the candidates and the issues.  Thank you to the 105 respondents.  We will have another straw poll later this week…

For the complete results of the straw poll on the debates, click here:  Trinity Straw Poll: The Presidential Debates 10 2 2016

Here are some of the top-line results and a few salient comments on each question:

q1-participation-of-candidatesHalf of all Trinity respondents said Yes, the Third Party candidates should be allowed to participate in the debates.  You can read all of the comments on this in the full report linked above, but here are a few salient comments:

  • Rigorous debate among those running should be encouraged. The two political parties that dominate the United States have tainted the system, forcing out other parties, which is not in the spirit of the Founding Fathers.
  • I believe that Jill Stein and Gary Johnson should be permitted to participate in the presidential debates because having the right to know who we can vote for is an essential part of democracy. The Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, is the only current candidate that has been discussing issues related to systemic racism, college debt, and economic and environmental injustice to just name a few. It is unfortunate that candidates like these, who don’t accept money from super-pacs or corporations, can’t participate in debates because of their unwillingness to be bought out by corporations. I very much believe that a third or fourth party would only make it harder for corporate interests to intrude and censor non-corporate or capitalist-based views. Opposition and alternative parties are the future of the U.S. if the two major parties are not willing to restore its values and get back to working for the people.
  • Perhaps third party candidates can be part of the primary process, to present all candidates and all views to the American public, but not at this point in the general election, and especially in this election. Neither third party candidate has any chance of winning the election, and the public must focus on the records, policies, leadership skills, experience and temperament of the 2 leading candidates who are asking for our votes. This election, these debates, already have a side-show atmosphere. Third party candidates, having Aleppo moments, would only add to that.

q2-taxes78% of Trinity respondents say that the candidates should have to disclose their income tax returns.  Some of the comments on this question include:

  • To demonstrate their equality with every other citizen of the United States, to prove they have nothing to hide, and to allow voters to evaluate how they got their income and how they used it. This information goes to character and morals, both of which we need in good quality in a  president.
  • They are running for the presidency. They should be able to prove to the public they have done everything correctly just like regular people do.
  • Before I didn’t think it was such a big deal until Trump kept making excuses not to show his. I think it’s important now because like Hillary said during the debate, he’s probably lying about how charitable he actually is. I mean we already know he doesn’t actually pay taxes and he calls it “smart” but I call it stealing and unfair.
  • That’s their personal business of knowing and should not be for the public. Voting for Trump!
  • Privacy is important, but when a person is asking voters to lead the country, then transparency is essential! We need     to know their income, their charitable donations, their deductions, and their financial gains and losses. Yes, we have many deductions in the tax code, and I am as eager to claim them as the next person, but let’s always remember:   Paying taxes means supporting all of the things that make America great – our active duty military and veterans, our national parks, our highways/byways and bridges, Pell grants for college and Head Start for pre-school, SNAP benefits for fresh food for low-income families, public K-12 education, the FDA that keeps our food and drugs safe, the EPA     that keeps our rivers and skies clean, NASA that expands our exploration of space and pushes the frontier of   science….. and so much more. To say, “I don’t any taxes, and that makes me smart, is, essentially saying, “I don’t support the infrastructure of America. When I make money, I keep it all to myself and don’t pay my fair share of taxes    to support others.” That’s just so wrong!

q3-healthTrinity opinion is split on whether candidates should have to get independent health exams with results fully disclosed.  32% said yes, 36% said no, 25% said maybe.  Some comments pointed to the example of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, arguably one of America’s greatest presidents elected for four terms — and in a wheelchair as a result of polio, but he was never shown in press photos in the wheelchair.  Other comments say that it’s important for the public to know if the candidates are healthy or have conditions that may shorten their lifespans or affect their ability to serve as our national leader.  Many answers cited personal privacy, saying they’d be satisfied if a competent personal physician gave a professional opinion without details.  Read all comments here:  Trinity Straw Poll: The Presidential Debates 10 2 2016

q4-maritalQuestion #4 was tricky, because many people felt that there is a big difference between marital problems and business deals, and that’s probably true!  Respondents also noted the difference between marriage problems and sexual harassment, feeling that one is personal but one goes to the candidate’s moral and legal conduct.   46% said yes, personal issues are a factor in analyzing candidate qualifications, 28% said no, and 25% said maybe.  Some of the comments:

  • It’s all situational. Presidents are people too and have the right to have a private life of their own. However, it does become an issue if their personal business begins to affect their performance as President. Presidents carry an important role in society and should take it seriously. Marital infidelity is a complex topic but I don’t necessarily believe   it should be relevant in the discussion unless someone was harmed physically or emotionally. Sexual harassment committed by a candidate, however, should be a relevant topic when analyzing whether a candidate is qualified.
  • These things lend insight into a person’s character. If you can’t do right by a spouse, how can I expect you to do right by an entire country. On the other hand if you’re the victim I guess it would be determined by how you stand in the   face of those challenges.
  • I don’t care about marital infidelity as long as the sex was consensual and between two adults. However private business deals are relevant because corporations are taking over and politicians are buying into neoliberal ideologies that hurt the majority of citizens.
  • The behavior of one’s spouse doesn’t really impact whether or not a person is qualified to be president. Marital infidelity or business dealings on the part of the candidate speaks to the moral compass of the   potential candidate.
  • Integrity. These issues speak to character. I want my President to be a role model.

The next question generated a lot of answers and below is a representative sample, read all answers here: Trinity Straw Poll: The Presidential Debates 10 2 2016

Question 5:  What Questions Would You Like the Moderator to Pose to the Candidates in the Next Two Debates?

  • What is your platform on education? And be specific!
  • Why did the Justice Department provide immunity from destruction regarding the “lost/missing” emails of Hillary   Clinton if there was nothing to hide? What persons would Donald Trump surround himself with as members of his cabinet? Why isn’t the current administration concerned with the extreme amount of violence and murder in Chicago?
  • How would you as the next president unite our country; including but not limited to: persons, race, creed, sex, gender, socioeconomic status, education and culture.
  • What will you do to bridge the racial divide? How will you help next year’s class of 2017 get jobs after graduating from college? What will you do for small businesses? How will you ensure women’s rights are protected?
  • It is estimated that 500,000 rape kits have gone untested, this is clearly a national crisis that has not gotten enough attention by both the media and police departments. What will you do legally to end the backlog? -Will you give two free years of community college to students? What will you do to help fill the wage gap? 41 modern countries in the world have paid parental leave for both men and women no matter if they are a straight or gay couples. Will Americans get paid parental leave under your administration? -Will you make a path to citizenship program for undocumented immigrants? -What can you do to reform the way police officers are trained in this country? -What is your stance on  police officers wearing body cameras? -Will you create some kind of gun control reform?
  • I want them to talk about the crisis in Syria and how they plan on ending the war that’s killing TONS of civilians. I    would love for them to speak about the black lives matter movement and what they plan on doing and what they think communities should be doing to improve the current situation. Also the role cops play and how they think they can improve the way cops handle the situation. In the U.S, the cops only get less than a year in training while in other countries they get up to 7 years in training and they do not have as many cop related shootings as we do. That said, they should also look at other countries low gun violence rate and compare it to ours and our gun laws compared to theirs. They should also speak on immigration.
  • What is your stance on Social Security and other social programs such as welfare, WIC, and food assistance programs? How do you view the Black Lives Matter movement? Will you advance the immigrant policies regarding those who have lived and worked in the US for more that 5 years, but are illegal right now?   What about amnesty?
  • Can you handle running the Country? What will we do with poverty? How will decrease the rate of homelessness and poverty? Are you going to tax the higher class? Will there be more job opportunities? How will stop police Brutality? Racism? Wrongful killings of people including children? Are we going to put close to extinct animals in their rightful habitat? And stop poachers from killing them? Housing  rates?
  • What measures will be put in place to stop all of this police brutality against minorities? What type of businesses will be generated in the U.S. to get people employed? How can education be improved in our elementary, middle and  high schools in the U.S.?
  • What will you do to stop the corporate take over of public education including for-profit charters, high stakes standardized testing, and fast track teacher preparation programs? How will you make sure that the Every Students Succeeds Act does not allow corporations to force students to submit to teaching and learning through computer programs where you earn badges and take tests all day? What will you do to prove that Black Lives Matter?
  • What will they do about the “crisis of democracy”, is this a country dominated by corporations or people? What are their plans to reform the political system? Why do we still need electoral college? – How do they plan to combat   systemic racism? — mass incarceration, police brutality, the distribution of resources etc. – What will they do about the DAPL? Are they willing to listen to the pleas of Native Americans and respect their sacred lands or choose to continue to marginalize and oppress the rights of Native groups. – How do they plan to move towards a more renewable-energy based nation? – How would they act to improve wages and working conditions for the people who  feed us? – Will the gender gap finally close under their administration? What are their thoughts/plans on gender wage gap, women’s reproductive rights, paid maternity/family leave? – What is their stance on immigration? Would they pass an immigration reform, and when? Who would be included?
  • Immigration and the great diversity of race and religion in our country present both great opportunities and challenges  for our country. How do you intend to keep America safe, while maintaining the important American values of this  country being a place that is welcoming of immigrants – those who are fleeing war, conflict, poverty and oppression — and that is welcoming of people of all races, ethnicities, religions and national identities. Almost all of us in this country have parents, grandparents or ancient ancestors who came here from around the globe. We can never turn our backs on those who want to come here and be part of this amazing economy, this amazing   country.

Well, those questions and many, many more!  Once again, read the full results of the straw poll here:  Trinity Straw Poll: The Presidential Debates 10 2 2016

Want to add your comments?  Just click on the comment link below and add yours to this blog.

The next Trinity Straw Poll will occur later this week…. watch your email for the next set of questions!

Follow me on Twitter @TrinityPrez

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Patricia A. McGuire, President, Trinity, 125 Michigan Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20017
Phone: 202.884.9050   Email: