It wasn't so much that Hillary Clinton won the showdown as Donald Trump was made to pay for his history of verbal abuse in their first presidential debate on Sept. 26. Clinton, former secretary of state and the Democratic presidential nominee, overwhelmed her Republican counterpart in the nationally televised debate, backed by her rich political experience and level-headed speaking manner.
The debate held at a university in the New York suburb of Hempstead, Long Island, marked their first head-on clash. During the 90-minute debate, Trump dragged his lengthy speech beyond his allotted time and interrupted Clinton's remarks, highlighting his sense of pressure to take the initiative in the discussion.
Clinton, on the other hand, didn't take a high-handed attitude despite her political background, nor did she respond to Trump's provocative remarks. Instead, she reacted with smiles on her face. Although neither of the candidates enjoys high popularity among voters, Clinton can be said to have overtaken Trump in terms of her manners and the content of her speech, successfully demonstrating her presidential quality of being equal to any unusual situation.
Trump was apparently underprepared, following too many reckless statements during his campaigning. He once demanded NATO members shoulder a greater burden and called for Japan and South Korea to foot far larger costs for hosting U.S. forces. He even made remarks suggesting the U.S. would accept the nuclear armament of Japan and South Korea in the future.
It was obvious for Clinton to attack these past remarks, but Trump ended up repeating similar assertions, saying that the United Stated defends Japan, Germany, South Korea and Saudi Arabia but that "they are not paying us." None of these countries would agree with his claims.
With regard to North Korea's nuclear and missile development programs, Trump just stated China should go into North Korea to solve the problem. The points of his arguments were generally unrefined and revealed his appalling ignorance of international politics, while he blatantly called for financial benefits for the United States.
Clinton, meanwhile, showed her meticulous preparation throughout her speech. She frankly apologized over her email scandal, which was regarded as her weak point, and when Trump questioned her "stamina" after she had left a 9/11 commemoration ceremony early, she took no time to slam Trump's sexism for calling women "pigs." She also accused Trump of "racist lies" after he previously questioned the nativity of President Barack Obama.
It is no wonder CNN's post-debate poll showed more than 60 percent of voters felt Clinton won the debate. Unless Trump cools down and speaks rationally, he could be further showed up by Clinton.
It is hard to say that important issues such as the Syrian civil war, counterterrorism measures and the South China Sea conflict were given sufficient discussion during the debate. Hopefully the two candidates will open a new dialogue for these challenges in the remaining two debates as the rest of the world looks on.