Less than one month from now, America will have the opportunity to tune in to watch the first of three presidential debates. Also there will be a vice-presidential debate, for debate completists. It’s anyone’s guess what might happen, because ― as you might have heard ― the 2016 presidential contest has been quite an unusual one!
Naturally, a lot of the speculation involves your Republican nominee, Donald Trump, who has arrived at this point in his life thanks to his willingness to be... well, let’s say “unorthodox.” Trump thrived in the raucous primary debates simply by bullrushing his way around the stage, lighting up his opponents with insults and indulging his larger-than-life reality-show persona.
Newt Gingrich probably summed up Trump’s debate technique the best during his appearance on the “Candidate Confessional” podcast: “You need to understand that Trump is the grizzly bear in ‘The Revenant.’ When you hit him, he devours you. He can’t help himself. And so, he creates an environment unlike anything I’ve ever seen.”
True enough, but there tends to be an atmosphere of enforced decorum at these presidential debates, which can make them staid, sterile affairs. Trump’s pyrotechnic act, on that stage, may not play well.
Meanwhile, the debates are arriving during a time of incredible upheaval in the media, and no one really knows how they’ll be covered. Disaffection with the two major parties could create an opportunity for a third-party breakthrough. And, as ever, it’s an open question as to how much the debates will affect the race, if at all. On this week’s First To Last, we’ll quantify our uncertainty ― and give you some vital things for which to watch out.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.