By Leslie Klein
The third and final presidential debate took place on Oct. 19 at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. This debate was arguably the most important, as viewers were looking for Donald Trump to either make a power move to boost his favorability or Hillary Clinton to fold under pressure as she remains ahead in the polls. Viewers are also searching for a way for Trump to unite the Republican party, while seeing if Clinton will look presidential. While Trump’s performance seemed more focused, Clinton is still on the path to the White House with Trump not close behind.
Trump, having not looked entirely presidential at the past two debates, made slight progress during the debate. His goal was to unite the Republican party and gain voters who are still undecided. Where he seemed to be put together when discussing the economy and foreign affairs, he made a few comments that seemed to do less than unite the party, making the debate more memorable as a Trump failure.
The first and possibly most important comment made by Trump, which could potentially cause a divide in the GOP, was his comment about accepting the election result. He did not give a firm yes or no answer to Chris Wallace when asked if he would accept the election result. “I will look at it at the time,” he said. This was a comment guaranteed to dominate the coverage and surely divide the party.
The past few weeks have been difficult on the Trump campaign due to a leaked recording of Trump making lewd remarks about women. So when Wallace asked him about the accusations, namely the nine women who came forward with claims that Trump groped and kissed them without permission, Trump said they were false claims. He blamed the Clinton campaign for conspiring against him, even paying people to start fights at his Chicago rally. His outlandish comments and accusatory rhetoric seemed to do no favors for himself during the debate. The lack of control it seems that Trump has over his mouth did less than show him as a fit presidential candidate. After his discussion about women was over (where he added “no one has more respect for women than I do,” to which the crowd audibly laughed), Trump leaned into his mic saying, “such a nasty woman,” when Clinton was speaking. As one can imagine, the Internet went crazy.
In conclusion, Trump’s comments have potential to divide the GOP, and ultimately lose votes. Where post-debate polls indicate Clinton as a clear winner, the GOP scatters to figure out its future. Shots were fired by both candidates, but ultimately Trump’s taking of the bait, yet again, showed his fitness to be president. His inability to control his mouth, resulting in newsworthy comments about women and the election outcome show Clinton as the clear winner of the debate. While none of these debates have been easy to watch, this might have been the most difficult, with fifth grade level comments by Trump such as, “no puppet. You’re the puppet.” Clinton’s cool composure and issue-focused rather than insult-driven debate showed her as the winner against a loud-mouthed Trump.