On Monday, September 26, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will take the stage at Hofstra University—yes, I grew up in the Town of Hempstead; no, I have no idea why Hofstra gets these debates; I know that’s the question everybody wants answered, and I’m sorry—and try to prove why the other one is the worst. They’ll also be trying to prove why they’ll be better at the job than their opponent, but first things first—this is 2016 after all. Moderated by Lester Holt, anchor with NBC Nightly News, the Hofstra debate will be divided into six parts, each planned at 15 minutes long and each focused on one of three loftily-titled themes: “achieving prosperity,” “securing America" and “America’s direction." The moderator will kick each segment off by asking a question and giving each candidate two minutes to respond. Then the candidates can respond to each other and the balance of the time will be used by the moderator to guide a deeper discussion of the topic. Counting on much extra time for in-depth discussion, though, seems to go against everything we’ve learned about the Trump campaign.
The next debate will take place on October 9 at Washington University in St. Louis and will be moderated by Martha Raddatz, Chief Global Affairs Correspondent and Co-Anchor of "This Week" on ABC and Anderson Cooper. In between these first two meetings, the vice presidential candidates, Mike Pence and Tim Kaine will have their own debate. The second presidential debate will be in the very much in-vogue Town Hall style, in which some of the questions will be posed directly by audience members. The candidates will each have two minutes to respond, followed by a single minute of further discussion. This is the lightning round debate, and the one where the least amount of actual policy will be able to be discussed. Why this was the debate chosen to have two moderators further gumming up the works is anybody’s guess. The third debate, which will follow the exact same format as the first, will take place on October 19 at UNLV. Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday will moderate. This final meeting will be the most important night of the campaign—the last time the two candidates will directly argue their plans for America’s future and about two weeks before polls open.
Since you’ll likely need to be stoned out of your mind to make it through the debate, you can follow the model of the folks at Debate Drinking Games substituting a bong rip for a shot.