As Trump’s Campaign Sinks, Pundits Say He Needs A Miracle In The Final Debate

As Trump’s Campaign Sinks, Pundits Say He Needs A Miracle In The Final Debate

››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

Media commentators are noting that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has to “win big” at the final presidential debate or “he will lose the general election,” given that he is “down in the polls nationally and in key swing states.”

Trump And Clinton To Face Off In Final Presidential Debate

Fox News’ Chris Wallace To Moderate Final Debate With Election Less Than Three Weeks Away. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton will meet for the third and final presidential debate on October 19 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Fox News’ Chris Wallace will moderate. [The New York Times, 10/19/16]

Pundits Say Trump Needs To “Win Decisively” Or “He Will Lose The General Election”

ABC’s Matthew Dowd: Trump “Has To Win Big Tonight” Because He’s So Behind In Polling. ABC’s Matthew Dowd noted that Trump “has to change the dynamic of this race” by “win[ning] big tonight,” because “he’s behind, as we’ve seen in the polls and all the key states.” From the October 19 edition of ABC’s Good Morning America:

MATTHEW DOWD: I think Donald Trump has to win and he has to win big tonight. He's behind, as we've seen in the polls and all the key states and nationally in this. He has to change the dynamic of this race and the only place he can do it from now until Election Day is tonight. [ABC, Good Morning America, 10/19/16]

Fox’s Bill O’Reilly: Trump “Has To Win Decisively” At The Debate “Or He Will Lose The General Election.” Fox host Bill O’Reilly noted that “Trump is down to his last chance,” saying he “has to win decisively in Vegas or he will lose the general election.” From the October 18 edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor:

BILL O’REILLY (HOST): This evening, we will set up the final presidential debate in Las Vegas tomorrow night. [In] just a few moments we will show you why Donald Trump has to win decisively in Vegas or he will lose the general election. Mr. Trump should absolutely capitalize on what is wrong in America because there is no doubt we're in trouble.

[...]

O’REILLY: Trump is down to his last chance tomorrow night. [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 10/18/16]

Fox’s John Roberts: Trump Needs A “Babe Ruth-Size Home Run Tonight” Because The Polls Have “Been Going The Wrong Way.” Fox News correspondent John Roberts said Trump “has got to not just knock it out of the park,” but that he needs a “Babe Ruth-size home run” because when “you look at the polls … they’ve been going the wrong way.” From the October 19 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

JOHN ROBERTS: Donald Trump tonight has got to not just knock it out of the park -- I mean, he's got to have a Babe Ruth-size home run tonight. He cannot do anything other than an absolutely convincing victory. You look at the polls. They've been going the wrong way. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 10/19/16]

CNN Panel: Trump Has “To Have His Best Debate Ever Tonight”; “It’s Time For A Hail Mary.” CNN’s Lanhee Chen said that “it's time for a Hail Mary for him. And I think he needs to realize that this debate performance is going to be important,” and debate coach and CNN guest Brett O’Donnell said that Trump has “got to have his best debate ever tonight.” From the October 19 edition of CNN’s At This Hour with Berman and Bolduan:

KATE BOLDUAN (CO-HOST): If you look at our poll of polls, Trump is down nine, nine points. It's hard to look back and see a spread that big when you're going into a third debate this late in the cycle. How does that fact shape the debate tonight?

LANHEE CHEN: I think it's time for a Hail Mary for him. And I think he needs to realize that this debate performance is going to be important.

[...]

BRETT O'DONNELL: He's got to have his best debate ever tonight. [CNN, At This Hour with Berman and Bolduan, 10/19/16]

Fox’s Steve Doocy: Trump Has “Got To Close To The Deal” At Final Debate. Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy agreed with Fox’s John Roberts that Trump “has got to be domination, … annihilation,” saying he’s “got to close the deal.” From the October 19 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

JOHN ROBERTS: Donald Trump has got to be domination.

STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): Absolutely.

ROBERTS: Domination, annihilation.

DOOCY: He’s got to close the deal.

ROBERTS: He's got to more than close the deal, Steve. He's got to, like, burn her house down. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 10/19/16]

CNN’s Jeffrey Lord: Final Debate Is The Most “Important” For Trump. CNN commentator and Trump supporter Jeffrey Lord said the debate is “important” for Trump, noting that there is “rarely” a “situation where as debates went on they increased in importance. I think this is one of those situations.” From the October 18 edition of CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360:

ANDERSON COOPER (HOST): Jeffrey, is tomorrow night Donald Trump’s -- I mean, how important is it for him?

JEFFREY LORD: The debate?

COOPER: Yeah.

LORD: Yeah, yeah. I think it’s important for him. Definitely. This is the third of three for them. We rarely have a situation where as debates went on they increased in importance. I think this is one of those situations, but I think he's going to be very aggressive as he was the last time around and really get right in there. [CNN, Anderson Cooper 360, 10/18/16]

NBCNews.com: Trump “Needs To Win [The Debate] In A Historic Rout To Begin Closing The Gap With Clinton.” NBC News’ Alex Seitz-Wald and Benjy Sarlin wrote, “The final presidential debate may be Donald Trump's last best chance to turn around” the election. They further noted that “Trump doesn't just need to win the debate, and he doesn't just need to win it big. He needs to win it in a historic rout to begin closing the gap with Clinton in the final days of the campaign (polls out Tuesday showed Clinton competitive even in deep red Texas.)” [NBCNews.com, 10/19/16]

Time Magazine: “Tonight Is Donald Trump’s Last Stand.” Time magazine’s Zeke Miller wrote that the final debate is “Trump’s last stand” because he has to “dramatically alter the course of this campaign. He needs a Hail Mary, or several,” because he is “down in the polls nationally and in key swing states.” [Time magazine, 10/19/16]

FiveThirtyEight: “Trump Needs To Win Tonight’s Debate, But That Would Only Be Step One.” FiveThirtyEight’s Harry Enten wrote that “Trump needs to win” the final debate because of his growing polling deficit against Clinton. Enten wrote that “winning the third debate would be only step one in what would have to be a multistep comeback,” because “the few third presidential debates we’ve had in past elections haven’t moved the polls much.” Enten concluded, “Tonight’s debate is very unlikely to vault Trump into the lead, but it’s probably Trump’s last shot to start giving Clinton a run for her money.” [FiveThirtyEight, 10/19/16]

Some Media Figures Say It’s “Too Late” For Trump’s Debate Performance To Matter

Wash. Post’s Chris Cillizza: “It’s Virtually Impossible For Trump To Do Anything In Debate Tonight To Reset The Race. Looks Too Late.”

 [Twitter, 10/19/16]

Politico: “It’s Hard To Even See What A Win Looks Like, Or Worse, Whether It Would Really Do Any Good.” Politico’s Glenn Thrush wrote that “Trump has nothing left to lose” in the final debate, and that he’s “run such a disorganized, nasty and politically undisciplined campaign, it’s hard to even see what a win looks like, or worse, whether it would really do any good.” [Politico, 10/19/16]

Wash. Post’s Philip Bump: “There Is Nothing Trump Can Do In The Last Debate” To Change Voters’ Preferences. Washington Post journalist Philip Bump wrote, “By now, it's far too late for Donald Trump to be anyone but Donald Trump,” noting that a series of polls show Trump has consistently received low marks for voters’ perceptions of his temperament and qualifications. Bump wrote, “Even after two debates — maybe because of those two debates — Trump is viewed unfavorably” on the metric of his temperament. “There is nothing Trump can do in the last debate or in the final 20 days to change that.” [The Washington Post, 10/19/16]

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