The U.S. Final 2016 presidential debate took place on October 19 at the University of Nevada (UNLV) in Las Vegas, Nevada. As usual, the debate was 90 minutes. The debate was conducted by Chris Wallace of Fox News as the moderator. The format is ten minutes of open discussion following a two minute Q & A for each question asked by Mr. Wallace. The simplest conclusion can be made about this debate is that Mr. Wallace did a better job in moderating the debate session. He had asked fair and penetrating questions, shown no bias against any party and controlled the debate process. Comments from viewers of both parties and independents claimed that Mr. Wallace had conducted the best presidential debate among all three debates.
Before the final debate, the media survey and opinion poll overwhelmingly giving Hillary Clinton a lead over Donald Trump as much as ten points or more. According to the American Presidency Project, compiled by John Wooley (UCSB) and Gerhard Peters (Citrus College) with a history dated back to 1999, there were 45 major newspapers with 10,306,701 circulations endorsing Hillary and zero for Donald Trump as of October 18. The list included the largest newspapers, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, NY Times, LA Times and NY Post. This is unprecedented and the effect or impression that the American media had made in the 2016 election was that they wanted so badly to influence the outcome of this election - Defeat Trump - to the point to be willing to sacrifice the sacred ‘neutrality’ of the media. As a voter, you must wonder why? Is it just because Trump with his free speaking mouth has angered the media or Trump’s macho and anti-establishment behavior broke the ethics of the American society or as Trump has said that the media was biased for not so honorable reasons? Media's preference on reporting more on negative news to catch more eyeballs is well known, but why prefer Trump's negative news to Clinton's does raise a big question.
During the debate, the following main topics were asked and debated mostly with expected opposing positions (my comments are put in brackets) : Supreme Court Justice Appointment, Gun Control and 2nd Amendment, Abortion and Roe vs. Wade, Building Wall and Immigration, WikiLeaks on Hillary's ‘Open Border’ (Hillary blamed on Russia's espionage that had led to the leak. Wallace subsequently followed with a no-punch question: Do you condemn foreign interference on US elections?), Economy and Candidate's Plan to Induce Growth (candidates debated around reducing versus increasing taxes, smart policies/negotiations versus more funds for stimulation), Trump's and Clinton's Conduct towards Women brought up in the last debate and now more women came out to accuse Trump (A tough question for Trump, Trump claimed that the new charges were false and brought on by dirty campaign tactics like the violence disrupting campaign rallies instigated by Hillary’s campaign and Hillary never touched Bill Clinton's women issue nor on campaign violence other than enumerated Trump's character faults), Conflict of Interest and Clinton Foundation (A tough question for Hillary, Hillary defended Foundation's charity work and deflected to Trump Foundation; chose not to respond to Trump’s suggestion that Clinton Foundation should return the huge donations made by foreign countries with unacceptable positions on woman; Question on This Presidential Race Being Rigged and Whether Both Candidates Would Accept the Election Result (Trump said he had to look at the result and kept Wallace’s Question in suspense. This has become the headlines of the media immediately after the end of the debate), Middle East and Placing US Troop Issue, and the final question on National Debt, Entitlement and Social Security (cutting taxes to grow economy versus taxing the wealthy to fund the Social Security benefits and the Medicare services).
After viewing the entire debate and C-SPAN's call-in comments, I was surprised how diverse the issues were considered to be important by the voters. Hence, it is very difficult for anyone to predict how this debate has changed the voters’ minds. However, the media did not hesitate at all to come out with surveys and poll numbers right after the debate to indicate that Hillary had won and gained supports in significant percentage points. In this debate, Hillary appeared to be refreshed, dressed in a smart white outfit with broad smiles delivering the rehearsed script lines (sometimes reading), whereas Donald appeared more tired than his previous debates with lips zipped most of the time restrained from taking his usual aggressive stand. Overall, Trump tried to focus on substance and being consistent and Hillary was trying to emphasizing experience and pleading for votes. After the debate, one particular 'independent' caller stroke a resonant cord with the following remarks: For the first time, he had to do his own research on the candidates since he cannot get truth and facts from the media. The media was so biased that it was scary to him. So for this election much credit must be given to C-SPAN for covering the debates without commentators. Not the same credit can be given to the major TV networks and newspapers syndicates.
Although the final outcome of this election cannot be predicted for certainty, the following scenarios are plausible enough for readers to keep in mind and to reflect on them after the election:
1. No national landslide victory for the 2016 Presidential Election, in fact, there may be quite a few opposing landslides won on States and Cities reflecting a divided country.
2. A contest of the election result may actually take place more serious than the 2000 Bush-Gore Presidential Election. The fact that the media raised the ‘acceptance’ question in the debate may signal that the media may know more than they let the public know.
3 More embarrassing leaks may come before even after the election with the purpose of warning and correcting the American Democracy (a good intention) or exposing the corruption in the American election process (an evil intention).
If you had read to this far in this article before the election, I plead you to pay more attention to the Organic media and speak out wherever and whenever possible to demand a fair democracy then cast your vote. If you read this article after the election, then you would have witnessed enough and you should have more time to right the wrongs!