Good morning from Hofstra University, the site of the first of three presidential debates between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump.
The Long Island Press will be updating, Tweeting, Facebooking all day as the world awaits one of the most anticipated debates in history. According to several reports, this could be the most watched debate, ever, and rival Super Bowl ratings. And just in case you are thinking about keeping score, the first Obama-Romney debate four years ago drew more than 67 million viewers.
Monday evening’s contest of ideas comes as various polls indicate a tight head-to-head race. A Washington Post/ABC News poll released Sunday had the two in a “virtual dead heat.” Clinton holds a two-point advantage both in a two-way race and when the two third party candidates—Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein—are included in the poll.
In a separate survey conducted by Bloomberg, Clinton and Trump are tied coming into the race. But in that poll, Trump holds a two-point lead when Johnson and Stein are included.
Trump has essentially wiped out the significant lead Clinton generated after both nominating conventions this past summer, which highlights just how crucial Monday night’s debate will be for the two candidates.
Given how unusual this presidential campaign has been—dating back to the beginning of the primaries—nobody knows quite what to expect, especially from Trump who has made several inflammatory remarks about various religious and ethnic groups. Despite denigrating Mexicans as “rapists” and “criminals,” suggesting a US-born judge with Mexican heritage should be disqualified from overseeing a Trump University lawsuit, calling for the complete ban of non-US Muslims from coming into the country, Trump has been undeterred. He has successfully built up a solid core of support, most notably from working-class white Americans.
Clinton remains mired in a controversy over her handling of a personal email server while she was U.S. Secretary of State and has been unable to quell concerns that she’s untrustworthy. Clinton recently had to walk back her own controversial comments about half of Trump supporters being “deplorables” for exhibiting misogynistic, racist and sexist views. Clinton later apologized.
Both candidates come into the race as the most disliked presidential nominees in history.
So, what do you need to know about the debate?
The debate from Hofstra University kicks off on 9 p.m. and will be televised live on all major networks, plus cable news networks CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC. Also, both Facebook and Twitter will be airing the debate live on their platforms.
Lester Holt of NBC News will serve as moderator and he too will fall under a microscope to see whether he challenges both candidates for misleading or completely false comments. Moderators don’t typically fact-check candidates on the spot, preferring to let the candidates correct purported mistruths themselves. But after Matt Lauer’s widely ridiculed town hall-style event in which he was accused of being caught flat-footed on some of Trump’s claims, Holt will be scrutinized to see how aggressive he is in addressing any false claims.
As security goes, Acting Nassau County Police Commissioner last week said this would the most “significant security event” in three decades in the county.
Police have closed several major roadways in and around Hofstra. Also more than 1,000 officers from various law enforcement agencies will be on hand to provide security inside the debate area, the campus and the perimeter—where officials have prepared for potential largescale protests. Krumpter said the department has prepared for upwards of 10,000 protesters.
Happy debating, everybody!