With 45 days left until the general election, and early voting already underway in several states, polls show Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump among national voters by just two points, and as Nate Silver notes, at FiveThirtyEight, uncertainty abounds about how well her campaign will perform in the homestretch. Anxiety, too: though Clinton has apparently been preparing for the debates, and Trump has not, the fact that she is expected to outperform him raises the question of whether he can “win” the debate simply by outperforming the unusually low expectations people have for him.
The first presidential debate—from Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York—starts at 8 p.m. central time tonight, and will run for 90 minutes, without commercial breaks. The Verge has gathered a list of online viewing options, and I’d encourage those of you who are watching to feel free to discuss proceedings in the comments section of this post, or on Twitter, where I’ll be chiming in from time to time. And in the meantime, for those of you who are counting down the minutes until showtime, I’d recommend Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s interview with Mark Cuban, who will be attending the debate as a guest of the Clinton campaign, on why he initially supported Trump and came to change his mind. He’s not the only voter to have traveled such an arc this year, I suspect, but he’s the first I’ve seen discuss it at such length, and his reasoning strikes me as well-considered. After reading the piece, I’m hard-pressed to call Cuban “deplorable,” even if he is the owner of the Dallas Mavericks.