Feature: Final U.S. presidential debate not likely to changes minds

2016-10-20 14:18:40 GMT2016-10-20 22:18:40(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

LAS VEGAS, the United States, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- Under the glittering golden facade of the Trump International Las Vegas hotel, another protest was held on Wednesday just hours before the third and final presidential debate of the 2016 election cycle.

It looked all too familiar. Protesters trying to mimic Donald Trump in any possible way, painting their faces orange, wearing blonde wigs or a grotesquely huge rubber head of the Republican Party nominee.

"Dump Trump!" "Boycott Trump!" They yelled their slogans.

And as always, Trump supporters also had their presence around the protesting crowd.

The arguments of both sides were nothing new. Trump was "racist, Xenophobic, Islamophobic and Misogynistic," while Hillary was a "liar and an untrustworthy politician who was in the pocket of Wall Street bankers."

The recently surfaced lewd comments about women by Trump in 2005 and the subsequent sexual assault allegations reaffirmed the view by Clinton supporters that the New York billionaire isn't right for the job. But die-hard Trump fans were mostly unfazed.

"I don't believe any of the stories, and even if it was something he had done in the past, people change," said Mary Ann Mendoza, whose police sergeant son was killed in a traffic accident by an illegal immigrant.

"They are afraid that Mr. Trump is going to get rid of all those corrupt politicians in Washington, and they're doing anything and everything to stop him," Mendoza added.

Voters who had already made their decision said their choices were not swayed by the previous debates, and certainly would not be influenced by the performances of both candidates in the last one. At the same time for voters that liked neither, the scandalous developments in recent weeks pushed them further away.

This election season is the one with the least popular candidates in recent history, many polls showed. A recent ABC News and the Washington Post poll revealed 59 percent of registered voters view Hillary unfavorably, while Trump's unpopularity among registered voters was at 60 percent.

The previous low in this poll was set by George H.W. Bush, who had a 53 percent unfavorable rating in July 1992, months before he lost the presidential race to Bill Clinton.

On the campus of the University of Nevada where the final debate was held, many disillusioned voters called for a move outside the two party system.

A large group of students and many others wearing shirts with "Johnson/Weld 2016" were making a scene. The Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson had successfully put his name on the ballot of all fifty states -- the only third party nominee to do so -- but was not able to participate in any of the three presidential debates.

A third party candidate has to have a 15 percent showing in the polls to be able to get in the debates, which is an almost impossible rule set by the Commission on Presidential Debates, a "non-partisan" organization in name but in fact controlled by the Republican and Democratic parties.

"We need to not let the two party system take control of our lives any more, we need to stand up as people and understand that there's a corruption in our political process," said Taylor Wolak, a first-year graduate student at the University.

Wolak said that the Libertarian Party and other third-parties had made great strides in this election cycle in term of raising awareness and getting young people involved, but the current system had made it impossible for them to break though.

"The dissent amongst the majority of people is a way of saying we don't want just two parties, we want more legitimate representation," Wolak said.

The discontent of the system even went as far as for calling an actually revolution.

In the University campus, Pete Ha held a sign with words like "Trump vs. Clinton: criminal choices of a criminal system," and calling for an overthrow of the system.

Ha believed that the current U.S. political system is one of capitalism-imperialism and cannot be reformed, which is leading to police brutality, wars and destruction of environment, and only an actual revolution can bring about the fundamental change that is needed.

On the night's debate stage, with moderator Chris Wallace's painstaking effort for a discussion on the issues, both candidates went on the attack. Each accused the other of being Russia-installed puppet. The sexual assault allegations against Trump were once again raised. Trump called Clinton "such a nasty woman."

"Trump was surprisingly more prepared than his previous debates, but I don't know if he would swing people in his favor," said Tiffany Howard, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Nevada.

The latest CNN/ORC post-debate poll among debate watchers showed Clinton secured a 52 percent to 39 percent win, but with CNN being called by Trump supporters as the "Clinton News Network," a perceived win may hardly change any minds.