Like they erect stalls at a circus, wealthy television networks have flown in their troops to the Hofstra University campus in suburban New York to soup up tents with pyrotechnic capabilities in prep for live coverage of the presidential debate here on Monday.
Hundreds of cameras, accent lights, props, make up trucks, power back-ups and miles of wiring, cables and duct tape have taken over the campus, giving students here 4 days of really cool, broadcast quality selfie backdrops.
Hofstra University in Hempstead is the venue for the first presidential debate on September 26 at 9 pm EST. All this drama is for the 100 million plus viewership heaven the networks are hoping to hook.
That’s the spectacle.
The headaches are real for Hillary Clinton, who lives not far from this location.
It’s still her debate to lose. Worse, the election is looking more ominous.
Watch this state carefully
Recent polls show Clinton has an edge in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Virginia and New Hampshire but those are not enough to win.
If she does win those, her best bet is to pocket Colorado and take the White House but problem is that Trump has now overtaken Clinton here. This state’s voters are more Hispanic and better educated than the national average. Trump has wiped out Clinton’s leads and is now ahead by four points. President Trump is not a long shot at this rate.
Debates have almost never changed the polling patterns dramatically - it’s a straight line graph over the last many decades.
Never have expectations been lower for a presidential debate than for Clinton versus Trump.
With barely 40 days to go before America chooses Obama’s successor, it’s truly extraordinary that Trump and Hillary are almost tied at this late stage of the race.
Clinton has been preparing for the debate at home in Westchester, New York with her long time aide Philippe Reines playing Trump in mock debates.
Meanwhile, Trump and his team have created a psychological profile of Clinton based on analysis of 16 years’ worth of videos dating back to her 2000 campaign for Senate in New York.
Clinton has debated more than 30 times at the presidential level but this will be her first presidential debate against a candidate from an opposing party.
Clinton has released a booklet on Trump's "seven deadly lies,” over the weekend before the first debate but nothing ever seems to stick to Trump.
With polls running close, the first debate is Clinton’s best chance to slam Trump’s nonsense without middlemen involved.
If somehow, Hillary is able to convice undecided voters that it’s time to shift focus to their actual policies, it may work for a public that is quite sick of politicians.
According to a new Associated Press-Gfk poll, more than 85 percent of likely voters backing Clinton or Trump say their minds are completely made up.
Trump’s path to White House
Trump has two likely paths, save for some bizarre development.
If he carries carrying almost every state that Mitt Romney won, the most competititve of which is North Carolina and also wins the three biggest swing states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, it’s his simplest path to 270 electoral votes.
But since Pennsylvania is slipping away in current polling, the other way is that he carries Florida, Ohio and North Carolina and then wins Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and one of Maine’s two electoral votes. That will get him to 270. Keeping these numbers in mind will give you a more fun ride through the infotainment evening of September 26.
Here are all the dates, timings, live telecast details
September 26, Hofstra University, NYC
October 4, Washington Univ, St Louis, Missouri
October 19, Univ of Nevada, Las Vegas
The debates will be broadcast live on C-SPAN, ABC (2), CBS (6), Fox (12) and NBC (8), CNN, Fox News and MSNBC.
September 26: NBC's Lester Holt
October 4: CNN's Anderson Cooper and ABC's Martha Raddatz
October 19: Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace.
9:00-10:30 p.m. EST, 6-7:30 pm PT, without commercial breaks.
That’s 6.30 am, September 27, IST
Total time 90 minutes without commercials.
Debate 1: 3: Six blocks of 15 minutes each