An Analysis: The Third Presidential Debate

Written by Steven Spear, Jr.


The best debate was saved for last. Hillary Clinton repeated what she has already said in previous debates, and Donald Trump managed to be somewhat presidential. With November 8th right around the corner, each candidate had to bring their A-game in this last debate to sway the remaining undecided voters.


The Candidates’ Performances

For Trump: His performance in this debate was the best one. Trump began pressuring Clinton in a civil way on issues that have plagued her and her campaign in the last few months: Wiki-leaks releasing tens of thousands of campaign e-mails every week suggesting that Clinton changes her message depending on the audience, her ties to the Clinton Foundation while serving as Secretary of State, her ties to Wall Street, and her being a career politician that is all talk and no action.

For Clinton: She was not prepared for this “new” Trump. Her practiced answers and talking points were not able to withstand some scathing attacks that Trump made in this debate. When confronted with her campaign e-mails, Wall Street speeches, and the Clinton Foundation, she vaguely acknowledged the questions and quickly returned to the character attacks on Trump.


Highlights of the Night

Trump on illegal immigrants who commit crimes: “We have some bad hombres here, and we’re gonna get ’em out.”

Clinton: “Why do you think Putin is supporting Donald? Because he would rather have a puppet [for President than me].”

Trump: “That was a great pivot off of the fact that she wants open borders. How did we get on Putin?”

Trump: “I ask a simple question: You’ve been doing this for 30 years. Why haven’t you been promoting changes over the last 15-20 years? The problem is you talk, but you don’t get anything done Hillary.”

Trump: “The one thing you have over me is experience, but it’s bad experience.”

Trump: “You talk about human rights? [Saudi Arabia and Qatar] are countries that push gays off buildings, kill women, and treat women horribly. So I’d like to ask you: Why don’t you give back the money that you’ve taken from countries that treat certain groups of people so horribly?”


Who was the Winner of this Debate?

Clinton gave us the same stories that she has been giving us. “Donald disrespects women, he is not fit to be the President, etc.” There is nothing new there. Unlike the other two debates, Trump prepared his attacks on Clinton, and it clearly showed.

Trump won the third presidential debate.


Who had the Best Overall Performance?

Clinton won the first debate, Trump won the third debate, and the second debate was a tie.

At first glance, it may seem that the debates had no affect on the race, but that is not true. According to the CNN/ORC poll, Clinton has extended her lead by four points since the debates began in late September (from 2 to 6 percent). She presented herself as the “common-sense” option and continually painted a dire picture of a world where Trump has become the President. Clinton realizes that there is a sizable group of people who do not support her policies but are willing to vote for her to prevent a Trump presidency.

Trump’s first two debate performances were lacking substance and were unlikely to attract to supporters. He spent most of his time defending himself from Hillary’s attacks and gave few details of his policies. Trump’s comments throughout the debates have caused his poll numbers to drop. Had Trump had been as calm and prepared in the first two debates as in the third, the polls might have shown him taking the lead.


What’s Next?

Early voting has already begun in many states, and Election Day is on Tuesday, November 8th. You have probably decided who your choice is for President, but do not forget the down-ballot races. Do research into your Senators, Congressman, State Senators and Representatives, and any state constitutional amendments on your ballot. Be able to state your voting choices and defend them.



To see my analysis of the 1st debate, click here

To see my analysis of the 2nd debate, click here


Election 2016 Presidential Polls. RealClearPolitics. Retrieved from


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