Tonight marks an historic moment in the 2016 presidential campaign: not only is it the final of three debates between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. It is, quite likely, the final time this pair will ever cross paths.
Trump and the Clintons go way back; as is evidenced in the photo above, the former President and First Lady attended his wedding in 2005. They’ve met many times over the years, most publicly and recently at the first and second debates. Tonight, they face off one more time with moderator Chris Wallace posing questions in Las Vegas. When the 90-minute debate concludes, and both candidates step off stage, will they have concluded their final ever personal encounter?
It’s currently unclear whether or not Trump will make the customary phone call to Clinton on election night to concede defeat. Considering his present rhetoric that the election will be “rigged”, the responsibility to acknowledge a loss may rest with Trump’s running mate Mike Pence, a man with seemingly slightly more respect for democracy than his boss. Even if Trump does call… that’s a phone call. Not a meeting.
If Trump pulls off the improbable and graciously accepts defeat on November 8, he may very well be invited to Clinton’s inauguration in January. It would seem a naturally sly move from Clinton; an attempt to look optimistic and conciliatory. Trump, in his current form, would seem unlikely to accept such an invitation.
More likely than not, Clinton and Trump will make enormous effort to avoid encountering one another for the remainder of their lives. She will be a very, very unpopular president. He will be permanently blacklisted by the Democratic and GOP establishments.
Keeping in mind that Trump and Clinton are 70 and 68, respectively, there’s a strong chance that their closest personal encounter after tonight will be at the funeral of whomever dies first. Spooky.