Who Lost The Final Presidential Debate? The Outcome Was All Too Predictable

Well, congratulations! If you've been closely following the 2016 presidential election over the past couple of months, you've finally made it all the way through the debates! The third and final presidential debate is in the books, and after all the speculation and discussion, it lived up to all the hype. Countless political observers correctly assumed it'd be a combative and potentially chaotic affair, owing to the desperation of the Trump campaign. So, who came out on top? In short, Donald Trump lost the last presidential debate, and it's an easy call for so many reasons.

Make no mistake, regardless of who ultimately departed Las Vegas as the consensus winner of the final debate, there was only one outcome that could've meaningfully changed anything about the shape of the race. Namely, nothing short of a dominant performance by Republican nominee Donald J. Trump would have the heft to trigger a real turn of fortune, to reverse the polling trends that currently show the real estate magnate primed for a landslide electoral college loss.

In other words, Trump had to clear a very high bar for the Las Vegas clash to in any way be a meaningful win for him. And clear that bar he did not.

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It's probably not worth digging too deeply into the specific issues that the two candidates discussed, because in all honesty, there was nothing said about policy that the two candidates haven't said before ― they clashed on immigration, the economy, foreign policy, terrorism, and the Supreme Court ― but here's the big takeaway. In his last, best chance to turn back the tide, Trump once again caved into his rage, wounded ego, and irrepressible hostility, culminating in a random interruption towards the end of the debate that pretty much summed up his entire campaign: "such a nasty woman."

Trump also accused the Clinton campaign of possibly orchestrating the nine sexual assault allegations he's been hit with in the past week, launched into a completely fantastical, fact-free analysis of military operations in Mosul, and perhaps most glaringly (though not shockingly), he refused to say that the outcome of the election would be legitimate.

It really can't be overstated what a shellacking the whole thing was, especially because Clinton was polished, confident, and spent almost all of her time on offense, excoriating Trump in particular for his treatment of women ― his accusers, former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, and a female New York Times reporter he reportedly called "disgusting."

Obviously, the final truth is never really known until the first round of scientific polls come out, but make no mistake: no matter what online polls Trump starts championing in the days to come, this debate was a decisive victory for Clinton. The only question left is what new leaked emails, or allegations of tawdry and violating behavior might trickle out between now and election day. Because in his final moment on a debate stage, needing the political equivalent of a home run, Trump swung and missed three times, snapped his bat over his knee, and called the pitcher a "nasty woman."