On Monday, Sept. 26, the two major party presidential candidates will be facing off in the first of three schedule presidential debates, this one being held at Hofstra University in Long Island. It'll be the first time Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump have occupied the same stage as candidates, and it'll also be the first time Trump has ever faced just one opponent ― during the primaries, he was constantly flanked on all sides. So, will you be watching? Here are 27 reasons you have no excuse not to watch the debate.
Sure, there are definitely some things that could reasonably elbow out a date with the first presidential debate, and a first glimpse at the last two people who could reasonably become the next president of the United States going after one another. Family emergencies and naturals disasters, for example, and all the chaos and happenstance of everyday life.
But assuming you've got a screen somewhere that's either connected to cable TV or internet, you really ought to tune in and see what happens. With the polls tightening in recent weeks, the debates are now looming very large, as perhaps the most consequential events between now and election day. Here are 27 reasons you really ought to watch.
1. One Of These Two Will Be The Next President
Sorry, Jill and Gary.
2. You Need To Know How It Went
If you're politically inclined and have a strong opinion about this election, it's important that you know what people will be talking about after the debate night, and how to respond.
3. Trump Could Say Anything At Any Time
He already used primary debate stage time to basically insist he has a large penis. There's just no telling what he might say next.
4. Clinton Could Make Trump Look Ridiculous
For all the criticisms people have made of Clinton's political skills, she's a very experienced, sharp-edged debater.
5. Lester Holt Is Moderating
Trump has accused him of being a Democrat, even though he's a registered Republican, so this should be interesting.
6. Your Curiosity Might Get The Best Of You Anyway
Even if you specifically planned not to watch it, will you be able to resist the curiosity if it's playing near you?
7. It's Going To Be Blowing Up Social Media
Good luck avoiding the debate if you're a frequent Twitter user.
8. Football Isn't That Great Anyway...
It's a very violent game, needless to say, and it doesn't have nearly the fluid, improvisational artistry of, say, basketball. So why bother with Monday Night Football when the country's future is on the line? Come on!
9. ... And Who Cares About The Falcons And Saints?
If you're a Saints or Falcons fan, sorry, but your team isn't going anywhere this year.
10. It's Trump's First Time In A Solo Debate
He's never had to face-off against a single opponent. Will the one-on-one debate threaten him?
11. There Could Be Some Meme-able Moments
What's that, you say? You don't care about politics, but you're all about internet memes? There's bound to be at least a couple meme-able moments on debate night ― maybe you'll come up with one that catches fire.
12. Clinton Needs To Score A Win
She's had a rough few weeks, as her nearly double-digit post-convention lead has shrunk to right around a one-point lead nationally.
13. There's Only Three Of These Things Scheduled
At most, you'll only have three chances to see these two argue it out before election day.
14. If Trump Wins Big, It Could Be The Last Debate
If Trump manages to be widely considered the runaway winner of the first debate, he could always back out of the rest, opting instead to let that victory be people's last memory.
15. If Trump Loses Big, It Could Be The Last Debate
If Trump is out-and-out humiliated during the first debate, his ego might preclude him from taking a second crack at it.
18. It Shouldn't Be As Long As Some Of The Primary Debates
One advantage to the one-on-one? We're not likely to get another one of those behemoth, double-wide debate nights like the ones that happened in the Republican primaries.
19. You Might Not Get Another One-On-One Debate
Unlikely though it may be, there's always the possibility that Johnson surges in the polls and makes the next debate, turning it into a three-way Democratic-Republican-Libertarian encounter.
20. The Candidates Have Never Been So Vulnerable
Both Trump and Clinton are historically flawed presidential candidates, at least in terms of what the polls say the voters think of them. That means they both have everything to lose during the first debate, when even one particularly bad gaffe, misstep, or flub could be a decisive blow.
21. You Can Host A Debate Watch Party
Why not invite some friends over? Probably best to make sure they agree with you politically, though, unless you're good and conscientious about navigating polite disagreements.
22. These Really Are Two Different Candidates ...
While candidates are usually divided along liberal/conservative lines, Clinton versus Trump is a much starker choice in terms of what they represent, both in terms of their coalitions and what forces in American society would be empowered by their victories. Simply put, even though people almost always say this, this might be the most important election of your lifetime.
23. ... And One Of Them's Running A Deeply Xenophobic Campaign
Sorry if you're offended, but it's the truth. And that should concern you enough to devote at least one night to seeing what transpires.
24. You Can Even Play A Drinking Game
Just make sure you don't do a shot every time Trump says "believe me" or "that I can tell you," or you won't last long.
25. The Debates Reveal The Candidates' Character
Not necessarily because of what they say, but how they say it, and how closely their talking points hew to the facts. In the case of Clinton, who suffers from a trust deficit according to multiple polls, being straightforward and even a little contrite could go a long way, while being evasive and intractable could hurt. In Trump's case, his constant badgering, bullying, and taunting might not look so great to a general election audience.
26. It's Scheduled Right In Prime Time
The debate is scheduled to begin at 9:00 p.m. ET and end at 10:30 p.m. ET, a tidy one-and-a-half hour program that'll be over for any West Coasters before the sun's even all the way down.
27. It's Not That Much To Ask To Be An Informed, Attentive Voter
Sometimes, life gets in the way, and almost everyone understands that. But assuming you have the time — especially in the midst of what could be the most consequential presidential election in modern history — it's good to pay attention, even if you've already made your mind up. Bearing witness is important.