The Final Presidential Debate

Joe Raedle/Pool via AP

The final presidential debate was held last night and it was easily both candidates best debate. Looking at each segment of the debate, we’re going to breakdown the biggest hits and misses, who won each segment, and talk about what the performances mean going forward.

Segment 1 – Supreme Court

The key points for Donald Trump in this one were going after the pro-lifers and 2nd amendment defenders. He was sure to stay on message about only wanting to appoint pro-life and gun supporting Justices. While he did maintain his cool and did not use any personal insults during this portion of the debate, he did use dangerous rhetoric around abortions, claiming women were having 9th month abortions and evading Roe v. Wade.

Hillary Clinton opened by appealing to everyone’s best interests and telling the current Senate members to do their job in relation to President Obama’s current nomination, Merrick Garland. She continued by arguing against Mr. Trump’s claim that she wanted to abolish gun rights by stating she wants more regulations and to close the existing loopholes. In relation to the abortion rights, Senator Clinton defended the mother’s rights to maintaining her own health during the pregnancy.

At the end of this segment, I felt Trump won simply by not attacking Clinton and maintaining his composure. Clinton stayed strong.

Segment 2 – Immigration

This segment was almost exclusively dominated by Trump in terms of talking points, but not in a good way. Trump started by continuing his argument for a wall at the Mexican border, and claiming there were some “bad hombres” over there. That comment will not sit well with any hispanic demographic that was still undecided. Hillary followed that up with a subtle use of Holocaustic imagery in reference to Trump wanting to deport a lot of the immigrant population. It was chilling and very effective. Trump attacked Clinton on her own claims of building a wall, as well as her wanting open borders. Clinton defended against both claims. The real critical point of this segment was Trump becoming unhinged when Clinton claimed that Vladimir Putin wanted Trump in office because he wants a “puppet” in the White House. Trump repeatedly claimed “I’m not a puppet” and never fully recovered from the comment. This was the turning point of the entire debate. Clinton took a lot of steam from him here.

Segment 3 – Economy

Hillary grew the lead in this segment. Not only did she thoroughly explain her position and how she wants to build the economy, but Trump did not. He sounded completely ignorant to the issue and continued his self-congratulatory bullshit. He also claimed India and China were growing at 7-8% while the US was around 1%. India and China are farther behind in their development, meaning their economic booms are still happening. It was a completely misguided statement. Trump also attacked Clinton on her experience, to which she took great offense. She destroyed his experience compared to her, referencing his time on a reality show while she was in the decision room when the military killed Osama Bin Laden.

Segment 4 – Fitness to be President

Trump continued his downward spiral by continuing his rhetoric about it being a rigged election and ironically claiming that Clinton has been inciting violence among his supporters. Trump did not hit hard enough on the WikiLeaks issue and Hillary absolutely destroyed him on his issues with women. She cast a vision for the future that Trump just could not project. Hillary continued the assault by using President Obama’s claims that trump should stop whining about the election as well.

Segment 5 – Foreign Hotspots

Hillary again pushed the idea that Trump is operating in his own fantasy world. The issue of Aleppo came up and again, Trump seemed ignorant to the issue. He gave misinformation and Clinton defended the use of a no-strike zone in the region. No real fireworks here.

Segment 6 – National Debt

The big takeaway here is Trump’s claim that he will add 25 million jobs over a 10 year period. It is one of the most unrealistic goals he has in my opinion. Not only is it exceptionally extreme, but he has yet to lay out a plan to get it done outside of “better deals”. It’s a total farce.

One Minute Last Question

Hillary used this time to create a vision toward the future and discuss protecting human rights.

Trump used this time to attack Hillary, and didn’t touch on any sort of plan for the future. It was a bad look.

Summary

All in all, this was Hillary’s most dominate appearance since the general election process began and she was aggressive going after Trump. She was strong throughout, and largely ignored his petulance. Trump’s first 30 minutes were his strongest yet, however once he became bothered, he reverted back to his normal self. Trump says he is not sure if he will accept the results, while his campaign says otherwise. This would be unprecedented if he goes against the result, but that is to be determined. I think Hillary locked up the election, however with just short of 3 weeks left until the election, anything is possible this year.

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