Trump and Clinton fought for the final time in Nevada, and it’s clear that both certainly destroyed Trump’s chance for the presidency. Instead of the usual and anticipated personal attacks, the debate was focused on policy, which drew in 71.6 million viewers across the States, the third-highest total ever recorded in U.S history. Held in Las Vegas and moderated by Chris Wallace of Fox News (a rather contentious choice), which led to questions chosen by him over policy topics, including the debt problem, immigration, the economy, which stirred some controversy as several of his questions showed a bias towards a conservative point of view. For instance, when questioning the economic plan of the candidates, he implied Clinton’s plan was similar to Obama’s, to which he cited that: “has led to the slowest GDP growth since 1949,” and yet not a mention of climate change in any of his questions. However, perhaps Wallace attempted to be impartial as in 2006, The Washington Post reported stated that he had been a registered Democrat for more than two decades, therefore proving he was a balanced and excellent moderator.
A topic that arose from the debate was abortion; an issue that strengthens the division between the two parties. While Hillary Clinton is a supporter of abortion and the reproductive rights movement, Trump recently has been rather vocal about his insistence that, ‘women should be punished for having abortions’ and has been targeted by Planned Parenthood Organizations due to his proposal of defunding due to his pro-life beliefs. During the debate, Wallace discussed certain wedge issues that divide the US extremely such as gun control. However, he then moved to the topic of abortion which after discussion led to the little known controversial topic of late-term, partial-birth abortions (which is illegal in the US, unless the woman’s life, but not health, is in danger). Trump reacted by exaggerating the procedure, “Rip the baby out of the womb,” which in fact is not the case. His ignorance to the facts demonstrates his lack of understanding on abortion, whereas Clinton is much more familiar with key issues of today due to her impressive résumé. Trump’s unfamiliarity with women’s deserved rights such as abortion over the election period has insulted women around the U.S and his personal treatment of women and misogynistic behaviour has damaged his appeal to any humane person. Since the release of his tape that showed Trump degrading women, more women around the US have spoken about being sexually harassed by Trump, to which he responded by mocking the victims and pledged to sue the eleven sexual misconduct accusers. He claimed that, “Every woman lied” in order to jeopardise his campaign. Unfortunately for Donald, the damage campaign has been self-inflicted. Even during the debate, Trump interrupted Clinton while answering a question about Social Security and Medicare funds, and muttered, “Such a nasty woman,” (a change from his usual favourite word “liar”), which without a doubt shocked American viewers and undermined himself from earlier who asserted that none has more respect for women than himself.
Yet Donald further shook America when he refused to say if he’ll accept the outcome of an election that he is currently no doubt to lose, which supports the Trump campaign’s idea that voting fraud will exist in this election. This occurred when Wallace questioned Trump on whether he was prepared to commit to the principle of a peaceful transition of power that the loser concedes to the winner after a well-fought campaign. Trump then refused to pledge an acceptance, which politically shows a disrespect for democratic norms and which contradicted his running mate, Mike Pence who earlier said he would “absolutely accept the result of the election”. His response further contradicts himself from last month where he was asked a similar question to which he responded, “The answer is: if she wins, I will absolutely support her”. Clinton post-debate had a rather sophisticated response to his comment, which implied Donald is a paranoid infant who believes systems are rigged when something is not to his preference. However, this should not be surprising to someone who has been closely following Trump over the past year. When the FBI conducted an investigation into the private email scandal that concluded no case existed, Trump stated on Twitter that:
“The system is rigged. General Petraeus got in trouble for far less. Very very unfair! As usual, bad judgment.”
“FBI director said Crooked Hillary compromised our national security. No charges. Wow! #RiggedSystem”
Clinton continued to criticise Trump when she stated that his comment proves that Trump is not suitable for the presidency and that someone who is the nominee of a major political party should not be allowed to uphold the position and shouldn’t be tolerated. His overall resistance was also described as “horrifying” by the Democratic nominee.
Not only did Trump insult the democratic process, but also make a racial slur against Mexicans, stating, “We have some bad hombres here and we have to get them out,” which was an obvious remark toward Latino men in particular. However, this is not the first time Trump has generalised Latinos. During his candidacy for president last June, he began by comparing Mexican immigrants to rapists with this famous statement:
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
It seems rather ironic coming from a man who recently has been put under scrutiny for several arising claims that he has sexually assaulted eleven women, to which he denied and proposed to sue when he ‘assumes the presidency’. Border Security is a topic that has angered many Americans when Donald Trump has ever chosen to speak about. He has pledged to ban Muslims entering the US and has frequently used racially saturated language towards immigrants and inner city residents. He even has plans to exclude those of Latino background from the US by calling for the deportation of undocumented immigrants and for the construction of a wall on the US-Mexico border. Not only did he demean Latinos by generalising them, but also by mispronouncing it. Trumps constant dehumanisation of non-white males is a disgrace to America, his disregard for immigrants insults the very foundation of America, and his blatant ignorance will cripple America if he ever assumes office.
It’s clear to say Clinton won the debate, and will probably win the election since she has surged through the polls on a national level. During the debate, she was well prepared for every policy discussion and for all of Trump’s foolish interruptions that arose. She mocked his alliance with the Russian leader Putin and overall remained poised, solid and calm throughout. However, it’s unlikely Trump will go down without a fight, and the coming election day looms near. Clinton’s success depends on her campaigning more than ever and her image towards the American public. Her only enemy is herself, as her struggle throughout the election has been to gain the indecisive vote that’s moved further away from her due to scandal after scandal. Before the debates began, Trump had a chance, but his performance over the past weeks has only revealed a rather weak and hideous perspective towards him that Americans don’t want. Over the election, Clinton has been bold and fearless because of her being open to the American public regarding issues that affect people seriously such as racism, gun control and abortion in a modern, realistic and on balance, presidential-like style.