The third and final US presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is all set to take place from 9 pm to 10:30 pm (ET) on Wednesday — from 6:30 am IST on Thursday — at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas (UNLV). As with the previous two, the expectations are sky-high from this one, and it's a question of who delivers, and how, at this last one.
Both Hillary and Trump have been embattled in recent times with revelations that have heavily disparaged their reputation. While Hillary has seen her speeches to Wall Street firms have not exactly painted her in flattering light, Trump has had a number of women accuse him of sexual assault.
Now, with the third debate looming large, here are some things to expect from Clinton and Trump:
- More mudslinging: Trump had attempted to hijack the second debate by bringing in women who had accused former president and Hillary's husband Bill Clinton of sexual assault. He also tried to malign Hillary over her representing a paedophile early in her career. Trump can be expected to bring up similar such statements, even as fact-checkers go crazy trying to verify them.Hillary, on the other hand, is expected to be her usual calm self, but she will waste no opportunity to cut through Trump like a hot knife through butter. However, each of her statements will be marked with civility.
- Clinton's emails: Yes, Trump has become this predictable. He will bring this up without a proper segue, and will again threaten to put Hillary in jail, or worse.Hillary will field this with a smile, maybe apologise again. However, she would be better off snubbing Trump on this over his reluctance in discussing policy and instead looking to disparage her.
- Clinton's Wall Street speeches: This is the latest controversy to hit the Hillary camp, with WikiLeaks releasing a big chunk of transcripts of the speeches Hillary gave to Wall Street companies for a fee. Trump, if he does his research and shuns schoolboyish verbal antics can really tear into Hillary with this one.It will be interesting to see how Hillary fields this one. She cannot apologise for this, as she had done with the emails. Expect her to have a strong reply ready, though. It would be a huge setback if her campaign has not prepared for this.
- Trump's transgressions: Too many to count, Trump's transgressions will inevitably pop up, with the billionaire business tycoon-turned-politician resorting to his usual prevarications to field questions on accusations made by women that he sexually assaulted them, or those on his taxes.Hillary can take the opportunity to inflict some more cuts on Trump, but she has to take care not to go beyond a limit where she appears vindictive. Otherwise, she may lose a number of fence-sitters.
- Muslims and the Islamic State group: This is another topic that will come up, either as part of foreign policy or the war on terrorism. It will be no surprise if Trump says again that he will annihilate the Islamic State group — also known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) or Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).Hillary will deliver a demure answer, and even weave in something about the Mosul offensive currently under way.
- Policy matters: Expect no clear answers from Trump, because he will not clearly explain the rationale behind his decisions on key policy matters, nor support them with numbers — factual or otherwise, with only his bravado by his side. However, he has been able to come this far without them, so now the million-dollar question — or "asking dad for a small loan," as Trump would call it — is whether he manages to get the top job with it.Hillary, as usual, can be expected to give rational and direct answers to questions on policy matters, as long as she is not being threatened by Trump with imprisonment. However, these oases of clarity may be few and far between, as has been witnessed in the previous two debates.
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