The third presidential debate is rapidly approaching on October 19, and it's safe to say it's probably Trump's last chance to prevent a massive Hillary Clinton landslide win come November 8. Certainly, the latest Donald Trump polls aren't looking particularly promising for Republicans.The most recent NBC/WSJ national poll shows Hillary Clinton leading by 11-points in a four-person race — which is what we actually have — and 10 points in a two person race. If either number were actually realized on election day 2016, the Republican Party would not only not win the White House, they would almost certainly lose the Senate and probably the House, as well.
With only weeks left in the election -– and with no significant October surprises for Hillary Clinton –- this next debate is almost certainly Donald Trump's final opportunity to get his presidential campaign back on track. But Republicans really shouldn't get their hopes up, since prior performance is one of the best predictors of future performance.
Previous Debates Versus The ThirdPresidential debate performances often decide who wins and who loses the election. But Donald Trump has already lost two debates in a row. More than this, he's lost them decisively despite using two different debate approaches.
In the first presidential debate, Donald Trump followed the advice of his campaign debate staff — or handlers, depending on your perspective — and tried to seem presidential. However, Trump's façade wasn't particularly convincing, and he frequently slipped out of character to reveal the Trump we've all come to know the last year.Following this defeat in the first presidential debate and a string of scandals involving sexual abuse allegations, Trump decided to come out swinging in the second presidential debate by showing up as the real Donald Trump. He assumed that this version of himself – that had done well enough in Republican primaries – would be equally effective against Hillary Clinton.
Sadly for Republicans everywhere, this wasn't the case. Instead of appearing strong as he stood glowering at Hillary Clinton or following her around the stage, it just made Trump seem a bit stalkerish – which with the sexual assault allegations was the last thing he needed.
Next Debate OptionsIt's doubtful that Donald Trump has a third approach he can switch to in the third presidential debate. He tried being presidential, and that didn't work. He tried being Donald Trump, and that didn't work either. In all likelihood – and his pre-debate comments suggest – Trump is actually going to try being himself again in the third debate, only more so.In the next debate, Trump will likely again attempt to shift the focus to the Clintons and their supposed improprieties. Last time, this meant bringing up Bill Clinton's own alleged sexual misconduct. But recent video disclosures in which Trump is saying things while sober about women that most men would be embarrassed to say while drunk might make this a difficult task.
In the lead up to the next debate, Trump in his flailing desperation is suggesting that Hillary Clinton must have been "pumped up" on drugs at the second presidential debate. Trump has even proposed a pre-debate drug test, a proposal he's likely assuming – perhaps even hoping – Hillary Clinton won't accept.
Third Presidential Debate ExcusesIf Donald Trump doesn't win the third presidential debate – as seems quite likely – and in the end loses the 2016 presidential election – almost a certainty – he will fall back on the excuses he started laying the groundwork for even before the last debate.
Following his first presidential debate defeat, Trump blamed the outcome on a bad microphone. Of course, some would say that Trump's problem in the first debate wasn't that we couldn't hear him, but rather that we could.Donald Trump's "rigged election" excuse is one he is already Trumpeting – so to speak – at rallies across the country. Whatever the evidence of the election polls and the results of the presidential debates, Trump will still argue that the only way he could have lost is because "crooked Hillary" stole the election.
Finally, Trump's last excuse for losing the third presidential debate – and the others as well – is that the media is biased against him. In this scenario, all the polls mean nothing because the liberal media is putting out nothing but lies. Of course, this overlooks the fact that even Fox News has him trailing Hillary Clinton by 7 points in their election polls.
[Featured Image by Win McNamee/Getty Images]