Last night’s third and final debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton wasn’t much of a debate. Once candidate came to discuss pressing issues facing America and how they might be tackled, while the other came to incoherently rant and rave about a fictional a country on the brink of complete collapse.
It was again a total mismatch, and Hillary Clinton calmly thrashed Donald Trump on every single issue. Trump began the debate poorly, looking unwell and delivering canned, monotone answers to questions put to him by the moderator, Chris Wallace. Clinton was sharp and prepared, offering insightful responses to questions on topics ranging from immigration to healthcare and jobs. Roughly 15 minutes into the 90 minute program, Trump began to unravel as he always does and descended into name calling, interrupting, and ranting incoherently about topics he has a childlike understanding of. While not at the scale of the first and second debate, it was an embarrassment to watch and Americans should be ashamed that someone like Trump could have gotten so far in the presidential election system.
To gain insight into the mind of Trump, just take a look at the answer he gave when asked about how he would create more jobs (bold emphasis ours):
Her plan is going to raise taxes and even double your taxes. Her tax plan is a disaster. And she can say all she wants about college tuition and I’m a big proponent, we’re going to do a lot of things for college tuition, but the rest of the public’s going be paying for it. We’ll have a massive, massive tax increase under Hillary Clinton’s plan.
But I’d like to start off where we left because when I said Japan and Germany and I’m not to single them out, South Korea, these are very rich, powerful countries. Saudi Arabia, nothing but money. We protect Saudi Arabia. Why aren’t they paying?
She immediately, when she heard this, I questioned and I questioned NATO, why aren’t the NATO questions paying, because they weren’t paying. Since I did this, a year ago, all of a sudden they’re paying. I’ve been given a lot of credit for it. All of a sudden they’re starting to pay up.
They have to pay up. We’re protecting people. They have to pay up. I’m a big fan of NATO, but they have to pay up. She comes out and said, we love our allies, we think our allies are great. It’s awfully hard to get them to pay up when you have somebody saying we think how great they are. We have to tell Japan in a very nice way, we have to tell Germany, all of these countries, South Korea, we have to say, you have to help us out. We have during his regime, during President Obama’s regime, we’ve doubled our national debt. We’re up to $20 trillion.
So my plan, we’re going to re-negotiate trade deals. We’ll have more free trade than we have right now, but we have horrible deals. Our jobs are being taken out. NAFTA, one of the worst deals ever. Our jobs are being sucked out of our economy. You look at all of the places that I just left, you go the Pennsylvania, you go to Ohio, you go to Florida, you go to any of them, upstate New York, our jobs have fled to Mexico and other places. We’re bringing our jobs back. I’m going to renegotiate NAFTA.
And if I can’t make a great deal, then we’re going to terminate NAFTA and great new deals. We’ll have trade, but we’ll terminate it, we’ll make a great trade deal. And if we can’t, we’re going to go a separate way because it has been a disaster.
We’re going to cut taxes massively. We’ll cut business taxes massively. They’re going to start hiring people. We’re going to bring the $2.5 trillion that’s offshore back into the country. We’re going to start the engine rolling again because right now our country is dying at 1 percent GDP.
What NATO has to do with NAFTA and creating jobs is anyone’s guess, but this was a typical Trump answer throughout the debate. He would be asked about a specific topic, then rant about how other countries are screwing America. And when you look at his answer to the actual question, it makes no sense whatsoever. His plan for college tuition? “We’re going to do a lot of things for college tuition, but the rest of the public’s going be paying for it.”
Given Trump has claimed he is going to cut taxes for everyone, how exactly will the public be paying for it? Also, is he going to terminate NAFTA, or renegotiate it? And if he renegotiates it, what exactly will he ask for? Of course Trump is big on claims but almost completely lacking in any substance.
The preternaturally calm Clinton on the other hand, deftly smacked Trump down on multiple occasions, proving that she not only has mastery over herself, but over Trump too. Hilariously, she accused Trump of “choking” when he met the president of Mexico over the summer and didn’t talk about his proposed wall. “Didn’t even raise it. He choked,” she said. “Then got into a Twitter war because the Mexican president said, ‘We’re not paying for that wall.’”
Clinton’s baiting paid off, and for the rest of the debate Trump just shouted and interrupted, culminating in him calling Clinton “such a nasty woman”. This coming from a man who bragged about being able to sexually assault women because of his wealth and power.
Perhaps the most shocking part of the debate was Trump’s refusal to say that he would accept the outcome of the election should he lose. “Sir, there is a tradition in this country … that no matter how hard fought a campaign is, that at the end of the campaign, that the loser concedes to the winner, that the loser concedes to the winner, and that the country comes together in part for the good of the country,” said Chris Wallace to Trump. “Are you saying you’re not prepared now to commit to that principle?”
“What I’m saying is, I’ll tell you at the time,” answered Trump. “I’ll keep you in suspense, OK?”
At this point, we shouldn’t expect much from Trump given the despicable campaign he has run, but it was nevertheless a brazen reminder of just how deeply unqualified he is for office.
It was perhaps Andrew Sullivan who summed up the debate the best, calling it the “most decisive” confrontation between the two candidates:
In my view, this was easily the most decisive debate. She devastated him. He melted down. His refusal to accept the results of this election disqualifies him automatically from any office in the United States. There were several areas where he was utterly incoherent, grasping at “facts”, without any understanding of policy. His personal foulness emerged.
It seems to me he also has internalized that he has lost this election. May God save this democracy from him.
Judging by the recent polls, we won’t need God to save us from Trump — Hillary Clinton has done that already.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.