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Third and final presidential debate: different game for each candidate

JACKSON, MISS– The third and final presidential debate between Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton is set for Wednesday night at 8pm central. 

At the end of each debate, every journalist, commentator, and audience member in the United States asks the same question.

Who won?

Dr. Nathan Shrader, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Millsaps College said there are various ways to declare a winner.

“You can look at it from the traditional perspective on substance,” said Dr. Shrader. “Who had the most detailed and best explanation of their policies… or who projects presidential confidence.”

But with this election being far from ordinary, Dr. Shrader said the definition of victory is different for each candidate in this debate.

“For Hillary’s campaign… don’t lose what you have. Hold the lead,” said Dr. Shrader. “But for Trump, it’s a matter of persuasion. He’s got to persuade some of this very small percentage of undecided voters, or some of these voters that are committed to the third party candidates, to try to peel them off to add to his numbers.”

Preparation for the final debate in a presidential election would typically call for studying, rehearsing, and preparing for whatever the candidates might throw to each other.

“That’s kind of what we’ve watched in the last few days with Hillary Clinton,” said Dr. Shrader. “The last two days in particular her campaign has been ran by surrogates. She had Bernie Sanders.. in Arizona, Bill Clinton in New Hampshire.. to give her enough prep time to study and rehearse.”

For the Trump campaign, it has been drastically different.

“By his own admission, he’s done very little of it (preparation) in the traditional capacity,” said Dr. Shrader. “There are no real signs that he’s done anything differently to prepare for this debate.. than the last two.”

While the debates have been intended to focus on policy and plans for the presidency, Shrader said there are expectations that this event could deviate from the traditional.

“The third debate is the closing argument,” Dr. Shrader said. “For Clinton, there are two avenues. she could be conservative, nothing new or different.. but her base has a desire for her to put the political nail in the coffin (for Trump).”

Dr. Shrader said Trump could be somewhat unpredictable.

“He could come straight out of the gate with the emails, Whitewater, Monica Lewinsky..” Dr. Shrader said. “Anything that could possibly be tied to the Clintons.. because there’s no time left.”

The debate will begin Wednesday night at 8pm. Follow along live on Twitter @News_MS or listen online


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