The first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is Monday, September 26, at 9pm. Here are some questions I would like to ask both candidates:
Mrs. Clinton: On policy, do voters have any reason to think you won’t be serving President Obama’s third term?
Mr. Trump: Is it true—as one of your ex-wives has claimed—that you once kept a book of Hitler’s speeches as your bedside reading? If so, what did you learn from them?
Mrs. Clinton: You have said there is no conflict between your pledge to regulate big banks and the fact that you have received millions of dollars in speaking fees from those same banks. Do you truly not understand why many Americans cannot take your “tough on Wall Street” posture seriously?
Mr. Trump: You have praised President Eisenhower’s “Operation Wetback,” which resulted in hundreds of U.S. citizens being illegally detained and deported because they were of Mexican descent. Do you also support President Roosevelt’s initiative to hold more than 100,000 U.S. citizens in internment camps because they were of Japanese descent?
Mrs. Clinton: You consider yourself a champion of the LGBT community. However, you publicly opposed full marriage rights for same-sex couples until March 2013—exactly one month after retiring as Secretary of State. When did you decide that gay people are equal to straight people with regards to marriage, and did it ever cross your mind that supporting marriage equality as America’s chief diplomat might have been helpful to the LGBT community?
Mr. Trump: Earlier this year, you suggested that any woman who has had an abortion should be punished in some way. Do you still think that today? If not, what made you change your mind?
Mrs. Clinton: You have expressed regret for saying that one-half of Trump’s supporters constitute a “basket of deplorables.” Upon reflection, what do you believe the true figure to be, and how will you win the trust of those people once in office?
Mr. Trump: When physical violence erupted at several of your campaign rallies, you lamented how such clashes don’t happen more often, saying, “Nobody wants to hurt each other anymore.” How do you reconcile this philosophy with your pledge to bring “law and order” to America’s most violent cities?
Mrs. Clinton: Why do you think you lost the 2008 Democratic primaries to Barack Obama? If you lose the 2016 election to Trump, do you think it will be for the same reasons?
Mr. Trump: In an interview, you claimed to be a highly religious person on the grounds that many evangelical Christians support you. Are you religious in any other respect?
Mrs. Clinton: If it were politically feasible, would you repeal the Second Amendment?
Mr. Trump: You have disavowed the support of former KKK grand wizard David Duke. Is there anything you two actually disagree about?
Mrs. Clinton: Are you ever concerned about your propensity for appearing to have violated the law, even when, in fact, you haven’t? Whom do you most blame for this perception—the voters or yourself?
Mr. Trump: If a poll came out tomorrow saying that a majority of your supporters now oppose building a wall along the Mexican border, would you drop the whole idea and never mention it again?
Mrs. Clinton: You have said you regret using a private e-mail server because of all the trouble it has caused your campaign. Is that the only reason for your regret?
Mr. Trump: You say you have a plan to defeat ISIS, but you intend to keep it a secret until after you win the election. If Clinton wins instead, are you going to keep it a secret from her as well?
Mrs. Clinton: Is there any major issue about which you think the majority of the public is dead wrong? If so, have you ever said so in public?
Mr. Trump: In your convention speech, you said, “Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it.” If that’s the case, why didn’t you run in 2012? Or 2008? Or 2004?
Mrs. Clinton: During the primaries, you opposed Bernie Sanders’s plan to make all public colleges tuition-free, arguing it would just be too darned expensive. If you believed, in 2003, that it was worth funding the Iraq War with money we didn’t have, why doesn’t the same standard apply to higher education?
Mr. Trump: You once said, “I know more about ISIS than the generals do.” Where did you come by this information and why haven’t you shared it with the generals?
Mrs. Clinton: In recently hacked e-mails, Colin Powell wrote of you, “Everything [she] touches she kind of screws up with hubris.” Did it surprise you to read this?
Mr. Trump: The screenwriter of the Back of the Future movies recently revealed that the character Biff Tannen was largely based on you. Do you take this as a compliment?
Mrs. Clinton: Have you ever consciously lied to the American people? If so, why?
Mr. Trump: Based on how casually and frequently you have completely reversed your position on one issue after another, why should anyone believe a single word you say?
Mrs. Clinton: When you entered this race, did it ever occur to you that you might lose?
Mr. Trump: When you entered this race, did it ever occur to you that you might win?