Second Presidential Debate: Moderators, How To Watch, And Potential Topics

The second presidential debate of 2016 airs tomorrow, with candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump taking the stage at Washington University in St. Louis at 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The presidential debate moderators will be Anderson Cooper of CNN and Martha Raddatz of ABC.


In addition to airing on the major news networks, the presidential debate will also be streamed online by various social media and news sites including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Buzzfeed, Fox News, CNN, and Huffington Post.

The style of the second presidential debate differs slightly from that of the first debate. The second debate takes the form of a “town meeting,” in which presidential candidates Clinton and Trump field questions from participating audience members that reflect the concerns of voters nationwide. While the audience members will be asking the questions during the debate, the moderators still retain power over the topics addressed.

As explained by CNN Money, “the [presidential debate] moderators would select the questions with the goal of maximizing the number of topics covered.” This means that the second presidential debate will likely hit on a wider range of topics than the first. While 40 participants have been selected to potentially ask the presidential candidates their questions during the debate, unfortunately, there will only be “time for roughly eight audience members to ask questions.”


What would those eight presidential debate questions look like? They will likely hit on topics covered in the news after the first presidential debate, as well as issues that were conspicuously missing from the first debate.

The first presidential debate received a torrent of criticism from both sides of the aisle for the many topics it failed to include, while still managing to run overtime. The Conservative Review published an extensive list of the issues missing from the debate, including but not limited to “any mention of Obamacare, immigration policy, discussion of abortion, any discussion of social issues at all, actually, not a peep about the NSA’s habit of spying on American citizens, nothing on entitlement reform, no discussion of environmental policy…”


As mentioned above, one issue that went unremarked upon during the first debate was abortion. While Clinton’s record as a pro-choice politician is long-running and virtually uncontested, Donald Trump has made contradictory statements over the years. In March, the presidential candidate told MSNBC that he was in favor of banning abortion, as reported by RealClearPolitics.

Given that one in three women have an abortion in their lifetime, and laws restricting abortion access have been raised and passed all over the United States, this is a topic that requires a spot in the national discourse during the presidential debate.

In an article for Refinery29, Kaylie Hanson Long opined that presidential debate moderators Cooper and Raddatz have a moral obligation to bring up abortion on Sunday. She argued that the discussion of abortion during the vice presidential debate allowed to candidates to delineate the stark differences between the two campaigns.

“Tim Kaine and Mike Pence’s discussion moved the issue beyond the simple ‘pro-choice’ and ‘pro-life’ labels to a level that forced the candidates to be accountable for what they have done to expand or dismantle reproductive freedom — and, by association, whether or not they trust women to make their own decisions… Americans deserve to hear the presidential candidates have the same discussion.”

In addition to abortion, the second presidential debate will likely feature Hillary Clinton going after Trump again for his misogynistic behavior and comments. On Monday, the Associated Press reported that Trump perpetuated an environment of sexual harassment while filming his television show The Apprentice, and just yesterday the Washington Postreleased a video showing Trump making lewd claims about sexually assaulting women.


While Clinton will likely go on the offensive during the second presidential debate, Trump’s recent behavior implies that he will hit back just as hard. In a speech in Pennsylvania, Trump said that Clinton could “actually be crazy,” and it’s doubtful that he’d keep such language out of the debate if he’s willing to say it on the campaign trail. Presidential debate moderators Cooper and Raddatz will likely have their hands full trying to keep the candidates on topic and respectful of each other’s time to speak.


Trump also plans on making Bill Clinton’s history of infidelity one of the presidential debate topics. While he did not bring the former president’s history up in the first debate, he has promised on the campaign trail to make Hillary Clinton address it. In addition, he has also implied that Hillary Clinton may have also engaged in affairs.


Regardless of who you support in the upcoming presidential election, Sunday’s presidential debate will be a can’t-miss event. Millions will tune in, so organize a viewing party or grab a drink at your local bar to prepare for the second presidential debate.

[Featured Image by Pool/Getty Images]