Clinton leaves third and final US Presidential election debate (source: AFP/GETTY images)
Politics

Clinton and Trump go head to head for final debate

US Presidential candidates clash in Nevada on immigration and Iraq

By Charlotte Gehrke

The third and final presidential debate took place on Wednesday October 19 at the University of Las Vegas in Nevada, hosted by Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace.

The candidates, Secretary Hillary Clinton and businessman Donald J. Trump, faced each other on six topics: The Supreme Court, immigration, economy, fitness to be president, foreign policy in the Middle East, and national debt.

The New York Times election forecast ranks Clinton at a 93 percent chance of winning the election so it was vital that Trump used this debate to prove himself as capable of being trusted with the Presidency.

He had to position himself as the change candidate – just days after a Fox poll showed that Hillary Clinton, whose party has held the presidency for eight years, was beating him on the question of who would “change the country for the better”.

Instead, after roughly half an hour of something resembling an actual policy debate about the Supreme Court, gun rights, abortion and even immigration, the old Donald Trump – the one who constantly interrupted his opponent, sparred with the moderator and lashed out at enemies real and perceived – emerged.

Clinton began by emphasising the need for the Supreme Court to work for the American people and not for the wealthy corporations. She also said that the country needs a Supreme Court that will stand up for women’s rights and the LGBT community, and be against Citizens United.

Trump highlighted his conservative stance for a traditional interpretation of the constitution. His pro-life beliefs were evident when he admitted that his Supreme Court would likely overturn the famous Roe v Wade case that gives women the right to have an abortion.

His far-right ideology was maintained as he told the audience that he opposes all limitations on assault weapons, indicating his NRA endorsement and explaining his plans to make it a national right to carry a gun. Clinton assured the public that she wasn’t against gun ownership but pushed for more comprehensive background checks.

On the extremely controversial issue of immigration, Clinton stated that she did not “want to rip families apart” and called America a “nation of immigrants” and explaining her immigration reform including a path to citizenship for non-violent immigrants.

Trump surprised the audience by complimenting president Obama for deporting “millions of people”, He further advocated his plan to build a wall between Mexico and the US by declaring “we have some bad hombres here and we’re going to get them out”.

The most controversial moment of the night came when Trump was asked if he would accept the election’s outcome, he replied “I will look at it at the time, I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense.”

Later, the New York Times quoted Trump: “I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election — if I win.” Adding “I would also reserve my right to contest or file a legal challenge in the case of a questionable result.”

Trump explained his theory of a “rigged election” by characterising the media as corrupt and “poisoning the minds of the voters”. He also spoke about the disputed issues of falsely registered voters and suggested that criminals, such as Hillary, shouldn’t be allowed to run for president.

The final topic of the debate centred upon American foreign policy in the Middle East. Trump stated that the situation in both Mosul and Aleppo were Clinton’s fault. Hillary said that she would not send troops in to fill the vacuum in Mosel. She would, however, instate a no fly zone over Aleppo.

In her closing statement, Hillary attempted to reach out to people across the political spectrum by proclaiming to stand up for families and against corporations. Trump repeated his campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” as he did in his previous closing statements.

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