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    Final Countdown: US Presidential Debate Poses 'Challenge for Both' Candidates

    Final Countdown: US Presidential Debate Poses 'Challenge for Both' Candidates

    Mark Ralston
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    Sputnik’s Loud & Clear spoke with political cartoonist Ted Rall about whether the American public can reasonably expect actual policy discussions in the final debate match-up ahead of November 8.

    "If I’m Donald Trump, I’m trying to look presidential. I’m trying to neutralize the effect of the open mic gaffe and the general assumption that he’s a sexist and misogynist," Rall told Loud & Clear host Brian Becker ahead of Wednesday night’s debate, describing the strategies for both presidential hopefuls going into the face-off.

    "If I’m Hillary Clinton, I’m trying to humanize myself, trying to make myself look not just like the anti-Trump, but as someone that voters can actually get off the couch and support for the next four years and be pretty much happy to see when she’s on TV.

    "That’s going to be kind of a challenge for both of them."

    While Trump’s extreme unlikeability has led to predictions of a Clinton victory, Rall pointed out that Clinton suffers from an enthusiasm problem that may keep voters from going to the polls.

    "If my money had to placed today, I would put it on her. But that said, yes, it’s not all over. He can definitely still win. There’s a massive enthusiasm gap," Rall explained.

    "Not to be overlooked is the third party factor. Many of Hillary Clinton’s would-be voters are going to migrate to Dr. Jill Stein and to Gary Johnson," he added. "And then, also, there’s going to be a lot of apathetic people."

    While the debate moderators plan to bring up a number of issues, it’s unlikely that either candidate will focus on topics that actually concern the American people, Rall said. Both Trump’s central focus on immigration and Clinton’s anti-Russia fearmongering are a bit dated.

    "The issues that American citizens care about, as usual, is the economy," Rall said. "The economy has recovered for Wall Street, quite nicely…and it has not benefitted the vast majority of people, even in the upper middle class, much less the middle class and working class and the poor.

    "The economy is not really being addressed in an intelligent way. The problems with Obamacare are being addressed intelligently," he added. "These are major bread and butter issues that are not getting addressed."

    Foreign policy discussion was also expected to fall short.

    "We’re expanding a war in Yemen. We’re involved in a proxy war via Saudi Arabia in Yemen. We are still in deep in Syria, and why? What for? This is not something that worked out well with Iraq," he said.

    "Most Americans are either just not paying attention to these interventions because they’re tired of the Forever War…or they just aren’t particularly interested in it."

    While a number of issues raised by the WikiLeaks release of emails from Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta will ideally be addressed, they have largely been overlooked in light of Trump’s sexual assault allegations.

    "Under any objective standard, Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, but she’s not really a Democrat. So, that does need to be talked about," Rall said. "It would be weird coming from Donald Trump, but who knows, maybe that will become part of his whole ‘throw everything at the wall and see if it sticks’ strategy tonight."


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    2016 election, Presidential debate, DNC, GOP, Ted Rall, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, United States
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