On Wednesday, October 19, 2016, UW Political Science Professor Megan Ming Francis joined Democracy Now! for a pre- and post-debate roundtable discussion about the third and final presidential debate between Secretary Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The debate night special entitled “War, Peace and the Presidency” featured several guests in addition to Francis: Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Eric Foner, the chair of Princeton’s African American Studies department Eddie Glaude, the Institute of Policy Studies Fellow Phyllis Bennis, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges, the president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Kristen Clarke, and the executive director of 350 Action May Boeve.
During the first hour of the special, the panel previewed the debate and discussed expectations. When Professor Francis was asked what she was looking for the candidates to talk about, she noted that this final debate was the time for the candidates to make their closing arguments. Furthermore, she was hoping that they would discuss the economy, in particular predatory capitalism, and the Supreme Court. Addressing the electoral campaign overall, Francis pointed out:
“I teach elections, and I’ve taught it for now a decade, and this is the craziest. This is just the craziest election and campaign. And it has changed the way that I teach in my class, in terms of how you might get voters to the polls and capture voters and also the median voters, as well.”
Overall, the pre-debate panel covered a broad variety of issue, including the historical predecessors to Trump, strategic voting, third parties, and comments made by Bruce Springsteen in an interview with a British television station.
After the debate, the panel discussed the Wikileaks documents, mass surveillance, and the critical role of social movements. A number of new panelists joined the discussion, including editor and publisher Bhaskar Sunkara from Jacobin magazine, reporter Zaid Jilani from The Intercept, and Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza. The panelists addressed a number of issues that were missing from the debate, such as climate change. At the end of the special, Green Party candidate Jill Stein joined the discussion via Skype to comment on the debate.
The panel was moderated by Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh. You can view the full transcript as well as the video of the debate night special “War, Peace and the Presidency” on the Democracy Now! website.