Admit it. We watched the debates for the trainwreck factor. Maybe we went into them hoping we’d learn something about each candidate’s plans, hoping that someone, sometime, would ask about serious policy issues. But only minutes into each debate, it became clear that we weren’t going to get that, and we all instead were watching to see our respective chosen candidates score hits on each other. It’s too late now for us to hear any of the candidates challenged in their respective positions. Granted, in the minds of many there is a clear winner; but there are still some questions we could and should have heard asked.
So here’s the questions I wish had been asked, and would have asked if the debates worked properly. And I have questions for all the candidates, too – not just Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, because I also believe that the third-party candidates should have a seat at the table and a platform to speak as well. And – everyone is gonna get challenged.
I will confine myself to four questions per candidate.
FOR JILL STEIN – CANDIDATE, GREEN PARTY
- In your platform, you call for a democratization of the Federal Reserve as a check on the Banking system. How would such a plan guard against overly-frequent change to the Federal Reserve system, borne of the shifting perspectives of those doing the voting?
- Can you also explain how your plan would guard against similar changes to public utilities, since you also all for democratically-run public banks and utilities?
- Your platform also calls for a conversion to 100% Green Energy by 2030. How does your plan expedite that specific time frame, and does it include job retraining for the Americans who are currently in the fossil fuel industry?
- Finally, you call for a “reject[ion] of gentrification as a model of economic development”. Can you clarify how much of gentrification you believe is intentional, as opposed to simple happenstance? Can such a policy truly be legislated?
FOR GARY JOHNSON – CANDIDATE, LIBERTARIAN PARTY
- You have stated that the “free market” is capable of providing solutions to environmental issues. Can you clarify what has prevented the free market from enacting those solutions thus far, and what specific changes need to be brought to the free market in order to encourage such solutions?
- At one point you are on record for calling for an end to the Federal Reserve altogether, but your platform does not mention such action. Can you expound upon your current position towards the Federal Reserve, and how your opinion seems to have changed so greatly?
- You have stated that a “market-based approach” is best for regulating the health care industry. What measures would you use to ensure that those with pre-existing conditions, chronic health problems, or other serious health conditions would still be able to obtain affordable health care in a free market? What measures would you use to ensure that health care providers do not refuse service to someone on the basis of cost?
- You have proposed introducing means testing into the Social Security system. What measures do you have in place to ensure the solvency of those who fail such a means test?
FOR HILLARY CLINTON – CANDIDATE, DEMOCRATIC PARTY
- You are on record as having supported not only the War in Iraq, but also the war in Afghanistan, and the USA Patriot Act. Yet in 2007, you opposed the Iraq War Surge, and have gone on record that your initial decision on the war in Iraq was “a mistake”. Can you clarify whether you also feel your position on Afghanistan was a mistake, and why? Can you also explain how you might avoid such mistakes in the future, preferably before the country has invested financial and personal cost?
- Can you explain your disagreement with the Glass-Steagal Act, which levied restrictions on the banking industry? Do you find that the banking industry is in need of regulation, and if so, which regulations would you enact?
- Your energy policy does not rule out fracking altogether, but instead leaves such a choice in the hands of each locality. Under your administration, what protections would there be for those people on the “losing side” of a local decision to permit fracking, who are then negatively impacted by fracking activity in their town?
- You defended your categorization of Edward Snowden as a lawbreaker by saying that he could have availed himself of protections afforded to whistleblowers instead. Can you expound upon what protections are in place in Snowden’s case, since many of the existing whistleblower protections do not seem to apply in his case?
FOR DONALD TRUMP – CANDIDATE, REPUBLICAN PARTY
- One of the solutions you have offered for alleviating the national debt would be to “refinance” it, by buying back existing bonds at a discount. What exactly would you offer bondholders in exchange for a lower return on their investment?
- When challenged on your use of Chinese steel, you responded that you were simply practicing “good business” and that if your opponent felt you should not have done so, that she should have stopped you. Does this therefore mean that you support government regulations on private businesses, and if so, what regulations would you enact?
- You have offered a number of different statements on your position on the minimum wage. Can you clarify whether you support or oppose raising the minimum wage, and if so, to what figure?
- You have stated that all refugees to the United States be subjected to “extreme vetting” to assess their entry qualification. Can you list the specific steps that you would take above and beyond the existing vetting that takes place as it is?
….And four questions for all candidates, just to see who can answer them –
- What, in detail, is the function of the office of the President?
- What powers does the Senate actually have?
- What is the process by which a bill becomes a law, in detail?
- Do you trust the current democratic process in this country, in and of itself? Do you see any areas in which we may improve the overall procedure?
Thank you, candidates, for your time.