"Th-th-th-that's all folks!", Porky Pig says at the end of Looney Tunes cartoons. And, yes, finally, the presidential debates are over! When Clinton said, Trump was Vladimir Putin’s puppet, and Trump replied "No puppet, no puppet. You're the puppet. You're the puppet", we knew that the third debate would be another trip in the playground.

The third and final presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was held on Wednesday night, 19 October, at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. The debate’s moderator was Chris Wallace of Fox news. The winner of the debate according to a CNN/ORC poll was Hillary Clinton with 52%, while Trump scored 39%. 

Who Said What?

The debate covered issues of the Supreme Court, gun control, abortion, immigration, Russia, the economy, fitness to be president of the US, foreign policy and debt. 

What stood out was Trump’s refusal to promise he’ll accept the outcome of the election. He called Clinton a “nasty woman” but when he commented that “Nobody has more respect for women than I do, nobody,” the audience couldn’t resist sneering. 

While the second debate stood out as one based on personal attacks, the third one seemed more cold, confirming how different the opponents are. Trump’s language such as the idea of immigrants “poisoning the blood” of Americans falls into right-wing populism where appeals to the everyday man and attitudes against elites are combined with the neoliberal ideology of free trade and selfish individualism. While Clinton’s answers were clear and focused, Trump’s responses were confusing, misleading and very often avoiding the question.

Trump began with a persistence on the Second Amendment of the US Constitution which refers to an organised militia for the security of the State and the right of people to have guns. While Clinton said that she respects the tradition of gun ownership, she also called for regulation. She said: “I understand that Donald's been strongly supported by the NRA, the gun lobbies on his side, they're running millions of dollars of ads against me. And I regret that, because what I would like to see is for people to come together and say of course we're going to protect and defend the Second Amendment, but we're going to do it in a way that tries to save some of these 33,000 lives that we lose every year.”

On the subject of abortion Trump said he was pro-life while Clinton supported the constitutional right of a woman to make the decision about her own body. In terms of late-term partial birth abortions, Trump was against what he called “rip the baby out of the womb of the mother” but Clinton explained that his “scare rhetoric” was nothing like what real women experience. Such decisions she insisted were personal and “the government has no business” in them.

Immigration: Trump talked negatively about immigrants, stressing the need for “strong borders”: “Now I want to build a wall. We need the wall.” The Mexican president already told him that he isn’t paying for the wall.

He referred to children “brutally killed by people who came into the country illegally” and of drugs “pouring in through the border.” Hillary said that Trump’s deportation plan will “rip our country apart” and that border security could be accomplished by deporting violent people. She also added that undocumented immigrants should be integrated within the economy so “employers can’t exploit them and undercut their wages.” Clinton explained this by using Donald as an example: “Donald knows a lot about this; he used undocumented labor to build Trump Tower. He underpaid undocumented workers, and when they complained he said what a lot of [people] do, you complain I'll get you deported.”

Russia and Putin: Clinton accused Trump of being Putin’s “puppet” and that he encouraged espionage against Americans. She said that “we’ve never had a foreign government trying to interfere in our election.” Trump gave an intelligent and brief answer commenting that Putin loves him, but he doesn’t know him.

Economy: While Clinton wants more government spending, more tax credit and penalties so that the middle classes thrive and have more opportunities, Trump wants less regulation and no government interference. She wants “to raise the minimum wage”, assure that “women get equal pay” and have a strong educational system “to prepare people for the real jobs of the future.” On the other hand, Donald wants to reduce tax for the wealthy, while cutting down jobs. He said that “we’ll have more free trade than we have right now” and that he’ll “cut business taxes massively.” As Clinton put it, investing “from the middle out and the ground up, not the top down” is the only way to grow the economy.

TPP: The Trans-Pacific Partnership is like the EU single market. It’s an agreement that involves twelve countries and its purpose is to develop economic relations between them by cutting tariffs and encouraging trade. It includes the US, Japan, Mexico, Australia, Canada, etc. 

Clinton said she is against this, and she attacked Trump for shipping “jobs to twelve countries including Mexico.” To this, Trump defended himself, saying “that’s the kind of approach that’s going to work.”

Fitness to be president: Asked about the sexual allegations by the different women who came forward, Trump denied everything and said that “they get their ten minutes of fame. But they were all totally — it was all fiction. It was lies and it was fiction.”

Talking about the Clinton and Trump foundations, the discussion turned towards Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns and him not paying any federal income tax. Clinton said that:

“Half of all immigrants, undocumented immigrants in our country actually pay federal income tax. We have undocumented immigrants in America who are paying more federal income tax than a billionaire. I find that just astonishing.”

Rigged Elections: Trump said that “I will look at it at the time”, “I'll keep you in suspense, okay?” and then decide whether the election was rigged or not, which means if the result is favourable he won’t complain. He said “the media is so dishonest and so corrupt” “and they have poisoned the minds of the voters.” With him denying democratic procedures and telling us that he will decide if he won the elections, and not the voters, was a glimpse into the madness of someone unfit to be a president.

Foreign Policy

ISIS: Clinton said that she wouldn’t support the idea of American forces in Iraq but the goal would be taking back Mosul and pressing into Syria in order to take back Raqqah, the ISIS headquarters. “That's why I want to have an intelligence surge that protects us here at home while we have to go after them from the air, on the ground, online.” Avoiding to answer whether he would put US Troops into Mosul to push ISIS, Trump said that after getting Mosul, the winner would be Iran and this is “a deal that is going to give Iran absolutely nuclear weapons.” 

He insisted that America shouldn’t have been in Iraq, but Clinton fired back by saying “Google Donald Trump Iraq and you will see the dozens of sources that verify that he was for the invasion of Iraq.” Clinton added that while we were going after Bin Laden, Trump was doing “Celebrity Apprentice.”

When Aleppo was brought up, Clinton took a humanitarian approach, persisting on a no-fly zone to protect civilians. Trump agreed that it is “a humanitarian nightmare” but the city has fallen and this was Clinton’s fault. 

Debt

Clinton responded by pointing out that big corporations will be held accountable to pay their fair share and stressed investing in the middle classes. Trump just said “I’m going to create tremendous jobs” while focusing on creating “an economic machine” where people will make a lot of money. He sounded like a djinn (or genie) who promises to grant three wishes, before it takes everything from you. 

One of the big achievements of Obama’s government is Obamacare or the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), or Affordable Care Act (ACA). It offers access to affordable health insurance and lower healthcare costs for everyone by regulating the health insurance industry. Trump prefers to cut tax and repeal and replace Obamacare which he thinks is a disaster and costly. Clinton wants to enhance benefits for poor people and retain the ACA.

One thing is clear: Trump is all about controlling immigration, opening up trade, and cutting taxes. Does this remind you of something closer to home? The presidential debates gave us a bit of that Brexit taste. Too many false promises.