The 2016 Democratic National Convention is giving the Hillary Clinton campaign a platform to rebuke the criticism of her candidacy that was on display last week during the Republicans’ convention. But the real show will be watching the candidates square off head to head.
The conventions have boosted anticipation for the first presidential debate between Clinton and Donald Trump, which, given the candidates' vocal admonishment of each other, should be a heated affair. There will be three debates between Clinton and Trump, as well as one vice presidential debate between Clinton’s running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, and Trump’s VP pick, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.
Below is the schedule for all four debates:
- Monday, Sep. 26 - Clinton and Trump will square off for the first time at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY.
- Tuesday Oct. 4 - Kaine and Pence will get their chance to go toe to toe in the VP debate at Longwood University in Farmville, VA. Kaine will have the home state advantage.
- Sunday, Oct. 9 - Clinton and Trump will meet again for the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis in St. Louis, MO.
- Wednesday, Oct. 19 - Clinton and Trump will face off for the last time at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in Las Vegas, NV.
The primary debates, especially the GOP primary debates featuring Donald Trump, were must watch television. Trump's unconventional demeanor — the eventual nominee often fired personal insults at his fellow candidates during the debates — led to record television ratings for the primary contests. The later Democratic debates between a surprisingly competitive Bernie Sanders and Clinton also garnered many viewers.
If the trend holds, the first Clinton-Trump debate could be the most watched in the history of American politics.
The candidates seem to be establishing the dynamic of those debates in their respective conventions. Last week Trump and his fellow RNC speakers tried to brand Clinton as a corrupt criminal who could not be trusted to work for the American people. Meanwhile, Clinton and her Democratic surrogates are working at the DNC this week to paint Trump as a reckless, divisive authoritarian not up to the task of running the government, while holding up Clinton as the healthy alternative.