For an election that has centered on personal attacks, shouting and blaming, the third and final debate was the best behaved.
The focus was on policy, and that handed Donald Trump a chance to prove that he’s a credible candidate.
But his glimmers of credibility were overshadowed by his refusal to say on Wednesday night that he would accept the results of the presidential election, rejecting American political norms and claiming that the political process is extensively rigged against him.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 20, 2016
Hillary Clinton called Trump’s answer ‘horrifying,’ and accused him of ‘talking down our democracy’ out of frustration with his flagging campaign.
The exchange was the closest thing to a climactic moment during the debate, in which Clinton called him a ‘puppet’ of Russian president Vladimir Putin and urged voters not to entrust him with nuclear weapons.
Attempting to hit back with Clinton’s record at the State of Department and her status as a political insider, his defensive was overshadowed by his broad criticism of the democratic system and his refusal to address the multiplying accusations of sexual harassment and assault against him.
In short, here’s what you missed:
Donald Trump said he might not accept the election results.
“I will look at it at the time,” Trump said. “I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense.”
The Republican democrate said he would decide only on November 8th whether to respect the election returns. He accused the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the media of conspiring in Clinton’s favor, and brushed off a reminder from Chris Wallace, the debate moderator, that the peaceful transfer of power is ‘one of the prides of this country.’
Hillary Clinton called Trump’s answer ‘horrifying,’ and accused him of ‘talking down our democracy’ out of frustration with his flagging campaign, the New York Times reports.
Trump’s choice of words stole the show.
‘Hombres’ is now trending on Twitter, along with ‘nasty woman’.
During the debate, Trump brought his infamous wall plans front and centre, saying: “We have some bad hombres here, and we’re gonna get them out.”
He confirmed that his plans would be to throw out the criminals and decide on the rest ‘at a later date’.
And during a Clinton answer about social security, Trump interrupted, saying: “Such a nasty woman,” which slightly undermined his earlier assertion that ‘nobody has more respect for women than me’.
I hear the bathrooms in Trump Tower are being relabeled "Bad Hombres" and "Nasty Women."
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) October 20, 2016
"Nasty woman" or "hombre." Which was more offensive? And that's not even mentioning that Trump won't pledge to respect election results.
— Chris Coleman (@mayorcoleman) October 20, 2016
The candidates sparred over refugee policy.
Trump predicted a security crises if Clinton were elected. Discussing Syrian refugees, he said: “This is going to be the great Trojan horse. Lots of luck, Hillary.”
However, Clinton said she would not allow anyone into the country without appropriate vetting but added, ‘I am not going to slam the door on women and children.’
Trump refused to respond to the sexual assault allegations.
Trump rejected questions about women who have accused him of sexual assault, branding them fame-seekers and Clinton campaign plants and saying: “I don’t know those people.”
Trump lied and lied again. He says he doesn't know any of the women. Well, he definitely knew me. I told the truth
— Jill Harth (@jillharth) October 20, 2016
Clinton had a ready response, saying ‘every time Donald is pushed’ – about women, a disabled reporter, the Khan family, John McCain, a federal judge – he denies responsibility and refuses apology. She added: “Donald thinks belittling women makes him bigger. I don’t think there’s a woman out there who doesn’t know what that feels like.”
Depending on what polls you ask, Trump is down – way down. Others depict the Republican candidate as closer to Hillary but still far off from winning the election. But close to none put him on top.
Trump’s performance in the first two debates, along with a wave of sexual assault allegations, have led to a precipitous drop in the polls in almost every state he needs to win.
His repeated insistence that the election will be rigged along with his call to supporters to monitor the polls were, unfortunately for the Republican candidate, indicative of an unwillingness to accept the legitimacy of a potential defeat.
With the third and final debate complete, the future of both candidates rests in voting day on November 8th.