How to Watch the Last Presidential Debate (and What to Watch For)


Just one last debate, people. Here’s how to watch and what to watch for.

When is the last presidential debate?

Oh shit, it’s tonight! Wednesday, October 18. 9 PM. 90 minutes. No commercials. You know the drill.


What channel is the last presidential debate on?

You know the drill from our guides to the first debate and second debate – this thing is going to be on a ton of channels, including ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS, CNN, FOX News, Univision, MSNBC, and C-SPAN.


Can I watch the last presidential debate online?

Hell yeah, you can. Bloomberg TV is back at it on Twitter. ABC has you covered on Facebook. Or you could just use YouTube like a normal person, where you’ll find streams from a ton of major news networks and publications. Here’s the PBS one:



What is the format of the last presidential debate?

After a weird and fun town hall that produced garbage meme Ken Bone, we’re back to a normal debate for round three. As with the first debate, candidates will answer direct questions from a lone moderator and the debate will be divided into six 15-minute segments, each focused on one general topic.

The announced topics are:

  • Debt and entitlements
  • Immigration
  • The economy
  • The Supreme Court
  • Foreign hot spots
  • Fitness to be president (this is clearly the fun one)


How much does this debate matter?

As the last presidential debate before election day, this is theoretically a big moment. But with the race looking extremely lopsided in Hillary Clinton’s favor, and given that Donald Trump has not shown debates to be a strong suit, it’s really hard to imagine that this is going to change the outlook of this race very much.

With that said, this debate does present Trump with one final chance to look a bit more presidential and perhaps reclaim some of those moderates and traditional conservatives who are shying away from his alt-right movement. As unlikely as it is that this debate moves the needle much, Trump desperately needs it to do so. Hey, that’s something to watch for!


What to watch for at the final presidential debate

  • Can Trump rehabilitate his image? Through two debates, Trump has been a loose cannon. That hasn’t helped his scandal-plagued campaign convince the more buttoned-up traditionalists in the Republican party that Trump isn’t going to mess things up if he gets the top job, and it’s not thrilling moderates, either. A more controlled performance by Trump may seem unlikely, but could be a game changer.
  • Can Hillary Clinton stay in control? Clinton lost her cool a bit in the second debate, which led to a media focus on the debate’s rough tone rather than on Clinton’s fairly clear victory. Can Clinton stay calm and let Trump’s insults speak for themselves?
  • What will the tone be like? The outrageous tone of these debates has been their most memorable feature, and with Trump in a deep hole, that doesn’t seem likely to change. Will the moderators control Trump? They kept him on a very tight leash last time, and even seemed combative at times. Will Hillary intentionally run over time? Some have speculated that prompting interruptions by the moderators would help her balance out Trump’s own moderator battles, making the debate look less biased.
  • Speaking of tone, will Trump accuse the debate of being rigged? He more or less did so last time, and he’s made a habit of calling the election rigged (by the media) over the past week or two on the campaign trail. This could get ugly.

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