The 2016 Presidential Election is entering the final leg of the race. November 8th is fast approaching and The United States of America will soon know who will be the next Commander in Chief. Before voting day, though, there are three critical events every citizen should be aware of before casting their ballots. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will face off against each other three times over the next few weeks in a series of debates that will hopefully highlight each candidates qualifications. (Or, you know, the lack thereof.) Each event will be nationally televised and you simply can't miss them. The Presidential debate schedule dates need to be marked on your calendar ASAP.
The first presidential debate is right around the corner. The much anticipated meeting of both respsective nominees will be held on Sept. 26 at Hofstra University in New York. This debate will broken up in six segments of approximately 15 minutes, according to the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), and will each focus on a different major topic selected by the moderator. The topics have not yet been announced, but will most likely be released at least one week before the night of the debate.
The moderator will have an important role in this style of debate. Lestor Holt, the anchor for NBC Nightly News, has been tasked with moderating the first of the three presidential debates. Holt will open each segment with a question that Clinton and Trump will both have two minutes to respond to, followed by an opportunity to respond to each other. Holt, as moderator, will be tasked with the arguably difficult job of steering the candidates towards a deeper, factually correct discussion of the topic while holding them to the allotted amount of time for the segment.
The pressure is definitely on for Holt to open the debates with strength after NBC's Commander in Chief Forum. Matt Lauer received widespread criticism after his time moderating the nominees last week. The New York Times published a scathing review of Lauer's performance.
Mr. Lauer largely neglected to ask penetrating questions, call out falsehoods or insist on answers when it was obvious that Mr. Trump’s responses had drifted off. If the moderators of the coming debates do not figure out a better way to get the candidates to speak accurately about their records and policies — especially Mr. Trump, who seems to feel he can skate by unchallenged with his own version of reality while Mrs. Clinton is grilled and entangled in the fine points of domestic and foreign policy — then they will have done the country a grave disservice.
The second debate, however, will have less emphasis on the moderator. Held on Oct. 9 at Washington University in Missouri, the debate will have a town meeting style. According to the CPD, the candidates will field questions "posed directly by citizen participants" as well as from the moderator. Martha Raddatz, Chief Global Affairs Correspondent and Co-Anchor of This Week, will moderate with Anderson Cooper. The pair will aggregate topics and questions that reflect "broad public interest as reflected in social media and other sources." Again, the candidates will have two minutes to respond to questions throughout the debate.
The third and final debate will take place on Oct. 19 at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. It will adopt the same format as the first debate and be moderated by Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace. This will be the last time Clinton and Trump appear together, sharing a stage and passionately discussing policies, before election day.
All three debates will be broadcast live on C-SPAN, ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC, in addition to all cable news channels including CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. Make sure you tune in and stay informed, as this is arguably the most important presidential election to date.