Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump square off Monday night at Hofstra University, a private university 25 miles east of New York City, in the first presidential debate between the two major parties during a particularly unpredictable and unconventional campaign season.
Both candidates are not currently elected officials and both candidates suffer from “strongly unfavorable” ratings that are worse than any nominee of the past 10 presidential cycles. Clinton is the first woman nominee of the two major parties, and Trump is the first nominee to appear in a presidential debate while not ever serving in office since Ross Perot in 1996. Trump is 70 years old and Clinton is 68, making this is the oldest matchup between the Democrats and Republicans in history.
According to the Commission on Presidential Debates, the topics for the 90-minute commercial-free debate will be: America's direction, achieving prosperity and securing America.
There will be plenty to watch for on Monday night. In previous debates, there have been sound-bite lines that captured the electorate’s attention, but in the first debate, both candidates may choose to avoid making any incendiary comments.
As the more experienced candidate, Clinton is expected to emphasize her competency, and paint Trump as “risky.” Because of questions about her transparency, Clinton will likely sound more candid with her responses. There have been questions about Clinton’s “authenticity” which can perhaps be remedied by a more humble and relaxed tone. However, the debate can’t solely focus on Clinton’s perceived shortcomings, and when questions about tax plans and foreign policy take shape, she can be counted on to deliver detailed and measured responses.
Trump is not expected to shift too far from his often brash and confident tone while focusing on broad economic, national security, and immigration issues. The New York businessman has been criticized for seemingly impractical campaign promises, which include building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border that would be paid for by Mexico. His game plan may be to hammer at trade deals and China’s currency—issues which have received some support from across the political aisle.
There might be added pressure on moderator Lester Holt, who may have to interrupt Trump’s off-the-cuff remarks that tend to deviate from policy to personal attacks. During the Republican debates, Trump had a contentious back-and-forth with Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly, and was later chided by another Fox News moderator, Chris Wallace, for not adequately addressing a proposed tax cut that would add $10 trillion to the debt over 10 years.
How both Clinton and Trump perform may be quite similar to their efforts in the primary debates. But this will be a much different forum given the larger audience and as both candidates seek to appeal to the roughly 10 percent of undecided voters.
After the debate, political pundits will offer their take on which candidate performed better, with the victor likely chosen based on party lines. News networks will also reference online polls.
This debate is expected to receive record ratings, due to help from 24-hour cable news networks that have provided a countdown in recent days. An estimated 67.2 million people watched the first debate in 2012 between President Obama and Mitt Romney, which exceeded the viewing audience for all three 2008 presidential debates. Monday’s debate could exceed 100 million viewers given Trump’s propensity to entertain with his bold comments.
There should also be plenty of attention on social media. Obama and Romney generated a record 10.3 million Twitter comments during their debate. There is a high likelihood that this debate shatters that figure.
After the debate, Clinton and Trump return to battleground states on Tuesday with Clinton campaigning in North Carolina, while Trump plans to hold a rally in Florida.
Prediction: Clinton sticks to the script by citing specifics while striking a more positive tone than her adversary, while the normally unpredictable Trump may provide a more subdued performance in an effort to look and sound presidential. He may surprise and impress some pundits by a slightly more reserved demeanor.
When it’s over, there should be an even split in polls as to who “won,” but with perhaps more leaning slightly towards Clinton.
Here are some prop bets, according to Sportsbook.ag.
First Greeting - What will the Candidates do when they Meet on Stage for First Time?
Shake Hand and No Embrace 1/4
Hug with No Kiss 7/2
No Physical Contact with Each Other 13/2
Hug and Kiss on the Cheek 8/1
Number of Viewers according to Neilson TV Ratings
Over 99.5 Million +120
Under 99.5 Million -165
Will Donald Trump mention Bill Clinton?
Will Hillary Clinton mention Melania Trump?
Will Trump say (Crooked Hillary)?
Will Trump say (Build the Wall) or (Build a Wall)?
Total number of times the word (Deport) or (Deportation) is used by Either Candidates
Over 6.5 (-120)
Under 6.5 (-120)
Total number of times the word (Liar) or (Lying) is used by Either Candidates
Over 5.5 (-140)
Under 5.5 (Even)
Total number of times the word (Racist) or (Racism) is used by Either Candidates
Over 2.5 (-130)
Under 2.5 (-110)
Total number of times the word (Email) or (Emails) is used by Either Candidates
Over 7.5 (-120)
Under 7.5 (-120)
Total number of times the word (Foundation) is used by Either Candidates
Over 4.5 (-120)
Under 4.5 (-120)
Total number of times the term (Wall Street) is used by Either Candidates
Over 3.5 (-120)
Under 3.5 (-120)
Clinton Jacket Color - What color will Hillary Clintons Jacket (outfit) be?
Other Color 5/1
Trump Tie Color - What color will Donald Trumps tie be?
Multiple Colors 5/1
Other Color 10/1