Going into the final presidential debate on Wednesday night, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump understood one thing—their demeanor would be closely analyzed by the public. Throughout the last two debates, both Clinton and Trump have made a spectacle out of unnecessary banter. Yet, just as the middle half of the event rolled around, Trump looked defiantly into the camera and said, “We have some bad hombre’s here, and we’re going to get them out.”
With that, Hillary Clinton won both the night and the presidency.
As the debate began, Trump kept his voice at an uncharacteristically even pitch, straining to answer questions with thoughtful regard. Yet, as the moderator Chris Wallace began peppering the candidates with questions about trade, his calm exterior quickly melted away. Sharp distinctions regarding trade, immigration, and terrorism culminated into Trump eventually calling Clinton a “nasty woman.”
Instead of reacting angrily, Clinton kept herself collected, using her extensive public service record to highlight key differences between their campaigns. Within Trump’s wreckage, Clinton emerged as the candidate with unparalleled poise and energy. While it was unlikely that the debate could salvage Trump’s campaign, his best debate performance still fell short. Clinton, ahead nationally and in nearly every swing state, chose to actively defend herself against Trump’s repeated insults.
Delivering a sharp critique on how the Trump Foundation spent donation money, Clinton skillfully avoided discussion about receiving donations from influential foreign states. As Election Day looms, both candidates have been clawing desperately to secure any undecided voters. Yet, when discourse over the vacancy within the Supreme Court came into the spotlight, Clinton took the opportunity to cast herself as the progressive candidate. Within this, she solidified connections with millennials, and amongst supporters of Bernie Sanders still skeptical of Clinton.
On the other hand, Trump spoke ambitiously about conservative values, restating the importance of outlawing abortion. However, he concluded this speech by stating, “If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby.” This yet again cast a spotlight on Trump’s lack of adequate preparation, as 43 states have laws prohibiting abortions following the sixth month of pregnancy.
Indeed, this debate came on the heels of Trump’s worst week yet. In Texas, he is just mere points above Clinton and is poised to lose Florida. Additionally, Trump is behind in Republican states, include Arizona, Utah and Georgia. Thus, despite having his best night of debate, Trump effectively eliminated himself from the race. His refusal to support Hillary Clinton if she wins this November was a significant breach of decorum. He then chose to further claims that the election is rigged against him, which has found little ground in actual evidence. When Chris Wallace pinned Donald Trump to a definitive answer about this support, he replied, “I’ll look at it at the time.”
Looking back at the final debate, both candidates each had their best night respectively. Yet, this was simply not enough the save Trump’s campaign from sinking. Hillary Clinton strengthened ties with her voting base and demonstrated her capability to handle the presidency. With fresh allegations of sexual assault and misconduct by Donald Trump streaming into the media, he must carefully wage an uphill battle to the Oval Office. However, as time ticks closer to November 8th, it appears that his brazen attitude has finally caught up to him.