If you want more from last night’s debate:
If you want more from last night’s debate:
Donald Trump invoked the increase in homicides in many major American cities last year, stating that the spike was the country’s biggest in nearly a half-century.
“We have an increase in murder with inner cities, the biggest in 45 years,” Trump said.
Trump was correct that murders have gone up across the country. As the FBI reported last month, violent crimes and homicides both went up nationwide last year. This uptick was largely fueled by increases in a number of big cities, including Chicago, Baltimore and Washington, which accounted for most of the spike seen in major cities.
Still, overall violent crime rates nationwide remain near historic lows, and the increase last year is so jarring because it follows two decades of declining crime nationwide. As Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch noted in her statement when the crime numbers were released, “It is important to remember that while crime did increase overall last year, 2015 still represented the third-lowest year for violent crime in the past two decades.”
Experts caution against drawing too great a conclusion from a single year’s data. And Trump’s remarks on crime often involve cherry-picked data and arbitrarily selected numbers, as when he claimed in the last debate that murders were up in New York City, even though they were up last year but down this year. (One criminologist said of Trump’s speech when he accepted the Republican nomination over the summer: “A good illustration of how to lie with statistics.”)
When Trump said tonight that the increase last year was “the biggest in 45 years,” he was technically correct if you use one specific way to measure the homicide increase — the year-to-year percentage uptick in homicides. But last year’s increase was less extreme if you look at other measurements, and it also paled in comparison to what the country saw just a quarter-century ago.
For instance, there were about 1,500 more murders last year than the year before, according to the FBI, which said the number of reported murders went up to 15,696 in 2015 from 14,164 in 2014.
In sheer numbers, there was a larger year-to-year increase in 1990, when nearly 2,000 more murders occurred than the year before — and when the population was far smaller. That year, 23,440 killings were reported, exceeding the 21,500 a year earlier. In 1990, the murder rate surged to 9.4 per 100,000 residents; last year, that number was 4.9 per 100,000 residents.
While there were more than 15,000 murders last year, the country saw roughly the same number in 2009, when there were 14 million fewer Americans. The gulf is even larger between the America of last year and a quarter-century ago: In 1990, there were about 8,000 more homicides than the country saw in 2015, even though the country’s population increased by about 72 million Americans over that span.
Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton promised to represent all Americans if elected president after a deeply divisive campaign. Far more Americans say Trump has appealed to prejudice in trying to win support than Clinton, but most also reject the idea that his supporters are prejudiced themselves.
In a September Washington Post-ABC News poll, 59 percent said that Trump was trying to win support by appealing to people’s prejudices against groups that are different from their own, while 45 percent said Clinton was appealing to prejudices.
Clinton said she regretted her previous comment that many Trump supporters are “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it.” The Post-ABC poll found 64 percent of Americans say that it’s unfair to describe a large portion of Trump’s supporters as prejudiced against women and minorities.
The Supreme Court finally got a moment from the presidential candidates Sunday night, with Hillary Clinton saying she would appoint justices who would lead the court in a different “direction,” and Donald Trump saying his nominees would be in the mold of the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
Clinton said the Senate has been derelict in not voting on President Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to replace Scalia. But she did not endorse Garland or say she would nominate him if she were president.
As she has said before, Clinton promised her nominees would get “dark, unaccountable money” out of politics; she has said she wants to overturn Citizens United v. FEC. She also said she would look for those who would protect Roe v. Wade’s guarantee of abortion rights and reaffirm the court’s decision that there is a constitutional right for gay couples to marry.
The Democrat said she would look for nominees beyond those who have attended elite law schools, clerked for federal judges and gone on the bench. She said she would look for those who “actually understand what people are up against,” and be more skeptical of big business’s arguments at the court.
Trump was less expansive. He noted he was named a group of 20 potential nominees to the court that has been “very beautifully reviewed by just about everybody.” His list was drawn largely from names that have been advanced by conservative groups. He said his nominees would protect the Second Amendment, which he said was “totally under siege from people like” Clinton.
Instead of expounding on the court’s role, Trump asked why Clinton was not contributing money to her own campaign if she were concerned about the influence of campaign contributions. She countered that she believed in the Second Amendment but also that it allowed certain gun control measures.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton agreed on the need to have no fly zones in Syria.
But when Trump was asked about running mate Mike Pence’s comment last week that the United States should “use military force” against the Bashar al-Assad regime, he said that he and Pence “haven’t spoken and I disagree.” Instead, Trump said, in reference to the Islamic State, “we have to knock out” the Islamic State.
Rather than challenging the Syrian government of Assad and his allies, Trump said, the United States should be working with them against the Islamic State.
In a totally erroneous comment, Trump said that “Assad is killing ISIS, Russia is killing ISIS, Iran is killing ISIS.”
Although Iran-backed militias in Iraq have fought against the Islamic State, and the Syrian army has skirmished with them in the eastern part of the country, Assad has by and large steered well clear of the militants in Syria, as has Iran. Russia has launched some airstrikes against them in Syria, but the vast majority of its bombardment there has been against U.S.-backed opposition forces and civilians.
Asked what he would do to stop the slaughter from Russian and Syrian airstrikes in Aleppo, Trump said that “Aleppo has basically fallen,” and repeated that the United States should instead concentrate on the Islamic State.
In terms of protecting Syrian civilians–a quarter of a million of them under bombardment in Aleppo–both Trump and Clinton said that no-fly zones should be established. Trump said he was all for them, as long as “other people” in the region pay for them. Those countries are not “carrying their weight,” Trump said. “They have all kinds of money.”
The safe zones under discussion would provide areas inside Syria where refugees–millions of whom have left the their country for safety in neighboring states including Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq–could return there under aerial patrols to protect them from Russian and Syrian bombs. The zones also would likely giveopposition fighters places to congregate and resupply.
But the question of establishing the zones has generally not been one of money, but of having the aircraft and the military resources, the logistics and command and control systems to protect them indefinitely, without having to put troops on the ground. It’s theoretically possible that other countries could and would do it, but unlikely.
Beyond safe zones–which President Obama has rejected and the Pentagon has opposed–Clinton basically supported Obama’s current policy of using Special Operations forces to train and support the Iraqi military, and Arab and Kurdish forces fighting against the Islamic State in Syria.
Trump also criticized the Obama administration for trumpeting the upcoming coalition-backed Iraqi offensive to take back the city of Mosul. This brought him into something of an argument with moderator Martha Raddatz, who took it upon herself to respond to him by saying that “psychological warfare” was involved, and “it may be to get civilians out.”
Part of the reason for announcing the upcoming offensive in Mosul, Clinton said, was to build support and participation among Iraqi Sunnis and Kurdish forces. “I hope that by the time I’m president, that we will have pushed ISIS out of Iraq.”
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will meet on stage at Washington University in St. Louis at 9 p.m. Eastern.