5 Ws of tonight’s US Presidential debate: Donald Trump vs Hillary Clinton
Like the previous two presidential debates, Wednesday’s (IST Thursday night) debate starts at 9pm ET and is scheduled to run for 90 minutes without commercial interruptions, though, of course, there would be other kinds of interruptions galore.
To be anchored by Fox News anchor Chris Wallace – the first anchor from that network to host a presidential debate, the debate is being held at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, which means that the journalists covering the debate are going to come home broke and hung over.
The debate will be broadcast on three major networks, as well as the cable news networks and C-SPAN. For those watching on their phones or on their laptops, Facebook will stream ABC News’s coverage and Twitter will stream the debates in partnership with Bloomberg.
For a network that has been embroiled in a scandal that pulled down its chief executive, Wallace’s position is an opportunity to hit the reset button on a miserable year. However, Trump’s willingness to feud with Fox News personalities means that Wallace will not be protected from onstage criticism from the candidate just because “he’s besties with Sean Hannity”.
The debate will contain six 15-minute segments, following the same format as the first presidential debate. Each segment will be approximately 15 minutes long. Wallace may open each segment with a question, after which each candidate may have two minutes to respond. Clinton and Trump may then have an opportunity to respond to each other. Wallace may use the balance of the time in the segment for a deeper discussion of the topic.
The topics of debate, as revealed by the Commission on Presidential Debates, are as follows: Debt and entitlements; immigration; economy; Supreme Court; foreign hot spots; and fitness to be president.
With a Fox News Survey showing Clinton leading by 6 percent over Trump, tonight’s debate may be Trump’s last opportunity to salvage the dwindling support that in recent weeks has seemingly placed the victory out of his reach. Going by Trump’s pronouncements over the past 16 months, it’s clear that he may be seen in his most vicious form as he finds himself driven into a corner. Repetitions of his baseless claims of voter fraud to assert that the election is “rigged”, as well as continued references to Bill Clinton’s past personal scandals, are a given.
Clinton, who was unflappable in the second debate even as Trump invited women who have accused her husband of sexually predatory behavior, is unlikely to take the bait.
“We understand the strategy that he is trying to do to explain his loss and also to try to deter voters,” said Jenn Palmieri, the Clinton campaign’s communications director, “[but] we believe that it’s going to be easier to vote than ever before.”