America’s “Sin City” was a most fitting location for the third and final presidential debate in an election marked more than any other in recent memory by scandal after scandal.
Last night’s debate came with no shortage of political drama. In the lead up to the debate, documents surfaced alleging a quid pro quo relationship between the State Department and FBI investigators tasked with examining Clinton’s emails for criminal wrongdoing. At the same time, the Trump campaign continues to deal with the fallout of a leaked 2005 video and subsequent accusations of sexual misconduct.
Was there a clear winner of last night’s debate? It’s hard to say. Yet, Wednesday night did offer insight into both campaigns and shed light on the policies of both candidates. Undoubtedly, both campaigns will claim victory in a debate that saw neither monumental blunders nor knockout moments.
Perhaps the most glaring moment in the last night’s debate came when Donald Trump hinted at his refusal to accept the result of the election regardless of the outcome. “I will look at it at the time,” Trump started. “I will keep you in suspense.” This answer comes on the heels of Trump’s Monday speech in Green Bay, Wisconsin during which Trump alleged that the election is already rigged against him. “They even want to rig the election at the polling booths, and, believe me, there’s a lot going on,” he said.
Despite the seemingly endless revelations and scandals since the end of the primaries, voters are largely entrenched in their views and unlikely to be swayed by Wednesday’s debate.
Ironically, in the first two minutes of the debate, when asked about her beliefs on the Constitution, Hilary Clinton advocated for a Supreme Court that will “stand up” to Citizens United. This assertion comes only two days after WikiLeaks released transcripts of Clinton’s Goldman Sachs speeches in which she advocates on behalf of Wall Street, the source of her largest contributors.
Unsurprisingly, immigration also took the main stage in Las Vegas. Moderator Chris Wallace asked both candidates to reflect on their respective immigration policy. Trump, advocating for strong boarders, referenced four audience members who are the mothers of individuals killed by illegal immigrates. “We have no country if we have no boarder.” Trump repeated. He also criticized Clinton’s amnesty plan, which he believes is “unfair” to those who have been working for years to attain citizenship. Trump ended his statement saying, “We have some bad hombres here and we’re going to get ‘em out.”
Wallace posed the same question to Clinton saying, “Secretary Clinton you have offered no specific plan on how you want to secure our southern boarder.” Instead of outlining actual policy points, Secretary Clinton told a story about a girl named “Carla” who Clinton claims is worried her parents will be deported.
Fox News’ Chris Wallace will likely walk away with the earned title of top moderator in this presidential campaign cycle. He consistently kept a tight leash on both Trump and Clinton, cutting them off several times and consistently offering the candidates opportunities for rebuttal. His questions were fair for the most part and, unlike Lester Holt, he did not ask leading questions intended to trap the candidates.
Despite the seemingly endless revelations and scandals since the end of the primaries, voters are largely entrenched in their views and unlikely to be swayed by Wednesday’s debate. A NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that the proportion of voters who held positive views of Clinton or Trump was unchanged from January polling. The third and final debate between Clinton and Trump was interesting and revealing but likely insignificant in determining the next President of the United States.