• What to Look For in the First Debate

    The first presidential debate is on Monday! It will be held at Hofstra University starting at 9:00 PM and will be moderated by Lester Holt. The debate kicks off the last leg of the campaign, and the event has a big impact on the race. If you support Hillary Clinton, or any candidate really, it is essential to watch the debate. Behind the scenes, Hillary has been preparing heavily for the debates, and is reportedly poring over briefing books and policy papers. Meanwhile, Donald Trump has taken a more freestyle approach to preparing for debates, with his most intense prep sessions being Sunday chats with his campaign staff.

    Due to the wide gulf in substantive preparation, it is almost certain Hillary will win on the issues of the debate—style and delivery will be the real battle. So without further delay, here is rundown of what to expect.

    What Each Candidate Must Accomplish
    Hillary’s primary goal is to be the stable and rational adult on the stage. If she brings actual policy details, a knowledge of the issues, and precise rebuttals of Donald Trump’s points, then her debate performance will be a win. Also important to Hillary is making a genuine connection with the audience at home. Hillary’s biggest issue throughout the campaign has been that many people have only seen her through the lens of negative news coverage. The debate offers voters a chance to see the highly intelligent, capable, and passionate Hillary Clinton that her friends, family, and supporters know.

    Donald Trump, on the other hand, must convince the American people that he is actually fit for the office of presidency. He must do away with his ridiculous tangents and stay on message. Without a teleprompter to aid him, he will likely have a hard time achieving this goal. Yet the risk with Trump is that he can sometimes find a single attack that works, drawing attention away from his own issues. He will throw hundred of punches, most of which will seem crass and rude, but only one needs to land to make an impact.

    Key Things to Watch For
    The first big moment to be on the lookout for is any major gaffe or misstep. Donald Trump, of course, is the one much more likely to make a major mistake. You should also watch the candidates’ policy proposals intensely to really understand their vision for America. Broad statements and declarations may seem impressive, but it is really the actual proposals that make the difference in the end. A unique thing to look for from Hillary is her use of silence. She can actually take advantage of the time when the other candidate is talking. Quite often, she will issue a stern stare when her opponent makes a disagreeable remark, allowing her a form of rebuttal without even issuing a word. She is guaranteed to throw a furtive glance Trump’s way at the debate, given his rambling and outrageous statements.

    Summary and Predictions
    Hillary Clinton will likely best Donald Trump in the debate. As long as the standards are kept equal and Trump is not graded on a curve, Hillary has a great shot of coming out of the event with a better path to the presidency than before. It’s important to remember that you can affect the reaction to the debate. On social media and in person, you can share why you thought Hill did better, even if the pundits disagree. Once again, the debate will be broadcast on all major news networks from 9:00 to 10:30 PM on Monday, and will also be live-streamed on Twitter and Youtube.

    See you there!

    Photo credit to Ninian Reid

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