With the final presidential debate on Wednesday, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will have their final opportunity to make an impression on tens of millions of voters in real-time.
The debate, which is in Las Vegas, Nevada, will last 90 minutes and be moderated by Fox News’s Chris Wallace. The topics — selected by Wallace — will include debt and entitlements, immigration, the economy, the Supreme Court, foreign hot spots, and “fitness to be president.”
You probably won’t have a hard time tracking down the debate on television, since most major networks and news channels — CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, PBS, Univision, CNBC, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, C-SPAN, and a few more — will air the debate live.
Online streams will be plentiful too, and we’ll embed one above when it’s available.
What to expect at the final Clinton-Trump presidential debate
This is the end… beautiful friend… this is the end… my only friend, the end…
There have already been 23 primary and general election debates during the 2016 presidential campaign, and on Wednesday, the very last one will finally take place.
And this final Clinton-Trump matchup will occur after what’s been a positively dismal few weeks for the Trump campaign. While Trump had never actually been the poll leader for any significant period of time, he at least seemed to have pulled close to Clinton in late September.
But after a first debate that was scored as a rout in Clinton’s favor, the Alicia Machado controversy, Trump’s leaked “grab ‘em by the pussy” tape, a second debate viewers also thought Clinton won, and a hailstorm of sexual assault allegations against Trump, the race no longer looks close. Clinton leads Trump by about 7 points in polling averages, and every major election forecasting model lists her as the overwhelming favorite.
It seems unlikely that Trump himself can do anything significant to turn this around in the space of one debate performance. He is simply too well-known and too disliked at this point. His message is familiar. And over his many debates in the past year and a half, he’s never really delivered a bravura performance — often winning instead because he held his own, or because his opponents self-destructed.
So the main question in this final debate, in my view, isn’t really about Trump. It’s instead whether Hillary Clinton will manage to avoid any major errors. In the past few weeks, Clinton has been happy to stand aside while Trump has imploded. But if she says the wrong thing in this debate, the media could well turn the spotlight’s glare back on her.
Also, keep your eyes on moderator Chris Wallace. Don’t expect him to go easy on Trump — he was tough on the mogul in several primary debates, at one point confronting him by saying the numbers for his policy plans simply “don’t add up.” The section about “fitness to be president” could well contain some very rough questions for Trump.
Yet Wallace is an employee of Fox News, so it’s highly unlikely that he’ll pass up an opportunity to serve up some very uncomfortable questions to Hillary Clinton on this big stage too. Fox viewers would very much like to see Clinton pressed on whether her email scandal, Benghazi, the Clinton Foundation, leaked information from John Podesta’s emails, her health, her “basket of deplorables” comment, and so on make her unfit to be president.
So if Clinton can hold up to what’s likely to be some challenging questioning, she’ll be an an extremely strong position for the campaign’s final weeks. If not — an already wild campaign will get even wilder.
How to watch:
When: 9 pm Eastern
Where: University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada
TV: CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, PBS, Univision, CNBC, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, C-SPAN, etc.