Clinton, Trump give voters memorable final debate before Election Day

Wednesday's presidential debate included substantive policy discussion, but Donald Trump stole headlines by suggesting that he may not accept the election results in November.

Covering topics like immigration reform and late-term abortions, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton faced off in the third and final presidential debate of 2016 Wednesday night.

This debate had more substantive policy discussion than the previous two, but Trump stole headlines by suggesting that he may not accept the election results in November.

“I will look at it at the time,” Trump said when pressed by moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News on whether he would concede should he lose the election. “I will keep you in suspense.”

Clinton responded by calling his comments “horrifying.”

"That is not the way our democracy works," Clinton said after audible gasps from the audience at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. "He is denigrating, he is talking down our democracy. And I for one am appalled that somebody who is the nominee of one of our two major parties would take that kind of a position.”

Trump’s comments have caused outrage on both sides of the political spectrum, with both Democrats and Republicans admonishing him for undermining the democratic process and refusing to uphold the American precedent of a peaceful transition of power.

Many political analysts are even citing Al Gore’s concession to George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential elections - after an infamous recall and only 537 votes separating the two candidates - as an example of the tradition of peaceful concession.

Still, Trump and his campaign staff have not backed down from these comments, and have doubled down on the suggestion that voter fraud may play a role in this election.

"Donald Trump is putting people on notice that if there are irregularities, if there's voter fraud, if there's large-scale malfeasance that's committed, that he's not just going not to want to investigate that but we have to see what happens," Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said in an interview on ABC Thursday morning. This wasn’t the only show-stealing comment of the night. In the opening moments of the debate and during a discussion on immigration reform, Trump referred to Mexican immigrants as “bad hombres,” sparking the hashtag #badhombres on Twitter. Later, he called Clinton a “nasty woman” after she mentioned his refusal to pay taxes, and both candidates took turns calling the other “a puppet” for Vladimir Putin.

Still, some important issues were discussed, such as the vacancy on the Supreme Court following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February. Trump vowed to elect pro-life justices who would protect the Second Amendment, while Clinton said that she would like to see justices who will stand up for women and the LGBTQ community.

In a discussion on abortion, Trump said that he would support the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, giving states the ability to make their own abortion laws, while Clinton said that women should be given the opportunity to make their own healthcare decisions.

And when the topic turned to immigration reform, Trump again defended his plan to build a wall, saying that our country depends on having strict borders, while Clinton spoke of comprehensive immigration that opens a pathway to citizenship.

With less than twenty day left until Election Day, and with millions across the county already participating in early voting, last night's debates were the last formal opportunity for both candidates to debate policy plans and make a final plea to the American people. Whether or not this will be a contested election remains yet to be seen.

Image: Cali4beach/Flickr

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