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Five Debate Storylines to Watch

Five Debate Storylines to Watch

First Read is a morning lecture from Meet a Press and a NBC Political Unit on a day’s many critical domestic stories and because they matter.


HEMPSTEAD, NY — Well, we’re finally here: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump tonight block off in their initial presidential discuss during Hofstra University, creation it arguably a many material night so distant of a 2016 election. The stakes are enormous, with new polls arrangement a inhabitant competition ranges from a six-point lead for Clinton (in a NBC/WSJ) to a dead-even tie (in Bloomberg’s). There are 5 storylines we’re examination streamer into a debate.

Which Donald Trump shows up? After examination him over a final 15 months, including during a GOP discuss season, we’re flattering assured who Trump is — he’s aggressive, installed with zingers and oppo hits, and unsure on policy. But there a probability that a opposite Trump could uncover adult tonight. But if we were in Las Vegas, we’d gamble heavily on a Trump we know arrangement up. (Just see Trump’s Gennifer Flowers twitter from over a weekend.)

Which Hillary Clinton comes to play? Meanwhile, we’ve spent a final 8 years examination Clinton during presidential debates, and she’s good. (Remember, she’s a former lawyer.) Clinton was during her positively best final Oct in that initial Democratic debate, where she ran circles around Bernie Sanders and her other opponents. But Clinton also has had some disproportionate performances — consider of that Democratic discuss in Iowa right after a Paris militant attacks. And there was her game-changing severe impulse when Tim Russert asked her about drivers’ licenses for undocumented immigrants in Oct. 2008.

How does Trump transport in his initial one-on-one debate? That’s right. Tonight will be a initial time that Trump has ever debated an competition one-on-one. Indeed, he thrived (and infrequently simply survived) during a GOP discuss deteriorate with as many as 8 to 10 other Republicans on a stage. So even yet he was always in a spotlight, he usually had to pronounce 12-18 mins in a two-hour debate. Tonight will be different.

How does Clinton transport in confronting off opposite a ultimate Alpha Male? In his preview of tonight’s debate, a Atlantic’s James Fallows interviewed a famous anthropologist Jane Goodall. “In many ways a performances of Donald Trump remind me of masculine chimpanzees and their prevalence rituals,” Goodall said. “In sequence to stir rivals, males seeking to arise in a prevalence hierarchy perform fantastic displays: stamping, slapping a ground, boring branches, throwing rocks. The some-more powerful and talented a display, a faster a particular is expected to arise in a hierarchy, and a longer he is expected to contend that position.” How Clinton responds could be one of a many critical tools to tonight’s debate.

What happens in a initial 30-40 minutes? As Politico’s Shane Goldmacher observes, story has shown that many noted moments of a discuss typically occur early. “That’s when Al Gore initial sighed, Mitt Romney knocked President Obama on his heels, and Marco Rubio, progressing this year, glitched in repeating a same articulate indicate — over and over and over. It’s when Gore tried, unsuccessfully, to invade George W. Bush’s space, Richard Nixon was initial held wiping divided persperate with a handkerchief (during a moderators’ introductions!) and Gerald Ford in 1976 done a brash stipulation that, ‘There is no Soviet mastery of Eastern Europe.'”

Do a debates unequivocally matter?

That’s a fascinating doubt a co-worker Dante Chinni asks. And his answer: not really. “Looking during pre-debate NBC News/Wall Street Journal presidential polls and a final choosing formula given 1992, there is usually one discuss where a discuss might have done a critical disproportion — 2000. In each other case, a claimant that led going into a debates wound adult winning on Election Day. And, to be satisfactory about 2000, Democrat Al Gore indeed did get some-more votes than Republican George W. Bush (but mislaid a Electoral College), so technically — where a renouned opinion is endangered — a numbers above uncover a ideal 6 for 6. The claimant that led in a check going into a discuss duration won a election.” On a other hand, 34% of electorate in a new NBC/WSJ check pronounced that debates will be possibly “extremely important” or “quite important” in determining their vote. Also, don’t be astounded if a third-party opinion in polls starts to dump after tonight. And how that opinion gets distributed in a post-debate polls will be critical to watch.


Playing a expectations game

NBC’s Alex Seitz-Wald and Benjy Sarlin tee adult tonight’s debate. “The good news for Trump, Republicans say, is that a expectations for his opening are about during stone bottom. While he’s been some-more a some-more trained supporter in new weeks, he’s struggled to stay on summary and answer concrete process questions. He also has never faced a splendid spotlight of a one-on-one debate. His campaign, looking to strengthen his loser image, claims he’s eschewing standard discuss preparations… Clinton, meanwhile, faces sky-high expectations. She’s an gifted debater, carrying participated in scarcely 40 debates given her initial discuss for parliament in New York 16 years ago, and has been holding marathon prep sessions during a discuss stay set adult in a hotel nearby her Chappaqua home.”

The spare on tonight’s debate

The discuss starts during 9:00 pm ET, and it lasts 90 mins – divided into 6 15-minute segments. Clinton gets a initial doubt of a discuss (on a outcome of a silver toss). About 1,000 assembly members will be in attendance, and they are speedy to sojourn quiet. We’ve got all else we need to know about all a presidential debates, all in one place — nbcnews.com/debates.

On a trail

Tim Kaine campaigns in Florida, creation stops in Lakeland and Orlando… And Mike Pence binds a convene in Milford, NH during 1:30 pm ET.

Countdown to VP debate: 8 days

Countdown to second presidential debate: 13 days

Countdown to third presidential debate: 23 days

Countdown to Election Day: 43 days

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