The third and final 2016 presidential debate may be calm or full of calamity and chaos like its predecessors.
The third debate, which kicks off at 9 p.m. EST from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, comes as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton remain rather far apart in recent national polls.
For example, a Monmouth University poll showed Clinton up by 12 percentage points, while a CBS poll had her up 9 percentage points and a George Washington poll showed an 8-point lead. A new poll from The Washington Post showed that Texas, Arizona, Florida and Ohio remain toss-up states, with previous swing states Pennsylvania, Colorado and Nevada shifting toward Clinton, too.
FiveThirtyEight’s editor-in-chief Nate Silver said it’s unlikely these numbers will shift in the coming weeks, especially now that Clinton’s lead has stabilized.
Clinton plans to play it safe in the upcoming debate, insiders told The Hill on Tuesday.
“The strategy is to just get through it,” a Democrat close to the campaign said.
But that doesn’t mean we won’t see some surprises at the presidential debate on Wednesday. Here’s a look at 10 surprising moments from the first two presidential debates that may be evidence of more shocks to come on Wednesday.
When looking back at the second presidential debate, one name surely stands out — Ken Bone, the penultimate questioner who asked Clinton and Trump about their thoughts on clean energy and climate change.
CNN even dubbed him the winner of the second presidential debate.
“It's that name. Ken Bone. Very Luke Cage-y. It's that power outfit: The red cardigan, the white tie, the black-rimmed glasses. People were in love,” CNN's Saeed Ahmed wrote.
Bone became something of a media star in the hours after the presidential debate. The Izod sweater he wore sold out over at Kohl's, and he was subject of a comedy sketch on “Saturday Night Live” this weekend.
Of course, his time in the limelight may now be over, as researchers found he actively discussed women’s shapes and sizes on Reddit threads dedicated to pornography.
Clinton and Trump playing nice
Bone may have gotten all the spotlight for his outfit and demeanor, but Karl Becker, who asked the final question in the second presidential debate, made Clinton and Trump do something they hadn’t done in the debates until that point — share something they liked about the other, according to Mashable.
Becker requested that Clinton and Trump each talk about something they admired in the other. Clinton said she appreciated Trump’s children, celebrating his ability to parent. Meanwhile, Trump told the town hall audience that Clinton was a fighter and that she never quits.
Becker’s reason for the question?
"It wasn’t meant to be 'gotcha' question," Becker told Mashable. "My intent was to ask a question and maybe get some dialogue going away from the negativity in this campaign."
The debate prep that wasn’t
Before the second debate kicked off, GOP nominee Donald Trump held a pre-debate press conference for reporters and the media. But the event proved to be no such thing. Instead, Trump appeared with four women, all of whom had accused Bill Clinton of sexually assaulting them and condemned Hillary Clinton for the words she spoke out against them in the past.
Trump held the debate prep on Facebook Live.
The Clinton campaign wasn't happy with the moment, sharing a statement with reporters that the tactics Trump used weren’t smart for the upcoming debate.https://twitter.com/cbcsteve/status/785270962640019457/p>
During the first debate, Trump spoke at length about the mainstream media and how he didn’t support the war in Iraq (he did). After his remarks, Clinton, finally with a chance to speak, looked out at the crowd, took a deep breath and said:
'Trumped-up, trickle-down' economics
In talks over taxes and the economy during the first presidential debate, Clinton delivered this seriously bad zinger: “Trump is trickle-down economics over and over again. Most extreme version. I call it trumped-up trickle-down economics.”
Some Twitter users weren't fans:
All those interruptions
We probably expected Clinton and Trump to go after each other. But little did we know there would be so many interruptions.
According to FiveThirtyEight, reporters across the country were counting how many times Trump interrupted Clinton. All these reporters counted differently. Some came up with 51, while others picked somewhere in the 30s.
Meanwhile, FiveThirtyEight only found three times Trump interrupted Clinton. This is because the news organization had a more conservative view of what qualifies as an interruption. Other news organizations, like Vox, defined interruption as any time Trump or Clinton spoke up over the other.
Trump’s interruptions declined in the second debate, according to Time. By reading the transcript, it was clear Trump only interrupted Clinton 15 times — a lot less than the 55 times he did so in the first debate, according to Time.
Trump makes a joke? about putting Clinton in jail
It’ll go down as one of the most infamous one-liners in debate history.
Twenty minutes into the second presidential debate, Trump told Clinton that, if elected president, he would hire a special prosecutor to look into her email scandals, The New York Times reported.
Clinton responded with more tepid answers.
“It’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country,” Clinton said.
And then Trump delivered the one-liner.
“Because you’d be in jail.”
Watch the moment below:
The one-liner, though powerful enough to fire up those at the town hall debate, inspired a less-than-enthusiastic response from members of the media.
Trump’s campaign later defended the statement, with campaign manager Kellyanne Conway telling MSNBC the comment “was a quip.”
Meanwhile, Trump has continued to press the idea at his rallies, Vox reported. He even put this meme on his Facebook page:
Trump’s early victory
But he actually was winning the first 20 minutes of the first event, according to The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, who said Trump’s opening comments about Clinton’s relationship with political insiders sat well with voters.
“Trump came into the forum with a clear game plan: paint Clinton as a longtime Washington insider who hasn't done anything to fix the major problems facing the country — and has, in fact, made them worse, over her three decades in the public eye. And, for a while — a short while — he did it,” Cillizza wrote.
But he didn’t stay strong as the debate went on, ultimately losing it, as polls showed thereafter, Cillizza wrote.
Clinton drops Machado’s name
Alicia Machado’s name was more or less a throwaway line at the end of the first presidential debate, but it certainly had long-lasting impact.
As CNN reported, Clinton turned the discussion into an argument about how Trump treats women. In her response, she pointed out a specific woman Trump once insulted.
"And one of the worst things he said was about a woman in a beauty contest — he loves beauty contests, supporting them and hanging around them — and he called this woman 'Miss Piggy,' then he called her 'Miss Housekeeping' because she was Latina," Clinton said. She continued: "Donald, she has a name. Her name is Alicia Machado. And she has become a U.S. citizen and you can bet she is going to vote this November."
"Where did you find this?" Trump replied, surprised at the mention.
And so began a weeklong war of words between Trump and Machado. It also led to the mention of a sex tape, more discussions about Trump’s temperament and, eventually, the reveal of a video that showed Trump making lewd comments.
OK, so, this didn’t exactly hurt Clinton or Trump, but it surely got the internet talking. At the first presidential debate, Trump sniffled repeatedly throughout the night, which made the internet theorize that the candidate had some sort of cold. It was such a big issue for social media users that #TrumpSniffles started trending.
The Guardian said the comments may have been a problem for Trump in the end.
“Trump’s sniffles were particularly unfortunately timed after he called into question his rival’s stamina and his supporters hounded Clinton over her health and occasional coughing fits for months, claiming they were part of larger health issues she supposedly suffered following a fall and blood clot in 2012,” The Guardian noted.
Herb Scribner is a writer for Deseret Digital Media.