The Real Winner Of Last Night's Debate Wasn't Even Onstage With Trump And Clinton

Positivity saved the debate.

A presidential debate on Sunday between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump that was marred by less-than-chivalrous exchanges ended on a positive note — thanks, in part, to a smart question from an audience member.

"Would either of you name one positive thing that you respect in one another?" audience member Karl Becker asked the candidates at the conclusion of the debate.

"I respect his children," Clinton said. "His children are incredibly able and devoted and I think that says a lot about Donald. I don't agree with nearly anything else he says or does. But I do respect that and I think that is something that as a mother and a grandmother is very important to me."

Trump returned the compliment to Clinton.

"I will say this about Hillary: She doesn't quit. She doesn't give up," Trump said. "I consider that to be a very good trait."

Both candidates shook hands after their final answers — a remarkable turnaround considering that they didn't shake hands at the beginning of the debate. And people on Twitter loved the positive tone with the final debate question.

Many on the social platform even argued that it was Becker, not Trump or Clinton, that truly won the debate:

While most presidential campaigns have a degree of enmity, the 2016 election seems to be nastier than usual. A poll in April found half of likely voters believe that the rhetoric of the campaign was repulsive and had no place in a presidential election.

The debates in particular have been very negative at times, which begs the question if, based on the response on social media to Becker's question, there should be a larger focus on agreement and compromise at the debates, as opposed to mud-slinging.

Another area of the campaign that could use a dose of positivity are the ads run by the candidates' respective teams. 53 percent of the ads this September were considered negative — up from 48 percent in 2012. More positive ads could also possibly mean increased voter turnout for the election.