What You Need to Know About the Final Debates #NGMSVote16

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We are in the final months of the 2016 presidential election  and with the nominees set – it is time for the final debates. There are 4 debates left, 3 Presidential and 1 Vice Presidential with the candidates from the Republican and Democratic parties.

Here’s what you need to know about the final debates:

What about the third party candidates?

Let’s address the elephant in the room. Neither Gary Johnson (who is polling very well in the military community) nor Jill Stein were invited to participate.

The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) invites candidates that meet certain criteria, including that they have at least 15 percent of support from the general election from the average of 5 major national polls. The polls that the CPD used found that only Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump met their criteria.

When are the debates?

The debates are scheduled for:

  • September 26
  • October 4 (Vice Presidential)
  • October 9
  • October 19

Each debate will start at 9 p.m. EST and will air commercial free. The topics will be announced by the debate moderator a week before the debate.

If you’re a debate junkie and want to know more about each debate, CPD has announced the debate formats and will also have the debate topics on their website.

How do I watch?

The debates will air on ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, PBS and C-SPAN. Don’t have a TV or cable subscription? Don’t worry.

These channels will stream the debate online and their respective apps, as well as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, BuzzFeed News, Hulu, Politico, Telemundo, The Wall Street Journal, Univision and Yahoo.

Basically you won’t be able to avoid the debates and not having cable isn’t an excuse for not watching.

Can we talk about the debates with you?

Heck yes! We’ll be on Twitter during all 4 debates using #NGMSVotes16 and #debates2016.

How to Throw a Great Debate Watching Party

So now that you know all about the debates, here are 5 tips for hosting a great debate watching party, no matter your political affiliation.

1. Invite your gang to the party – the whole gang (Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Undecide-ents and everyone in between)

It’s always fun to watch TV with friends and the same is true for the debates. I love inviting friends of mixed political views so that we can have discussions about the various candidates and their plans for our country.

Be sure to establish some ground rules if you or your friends get super passionate about discussing politics. Some ideas include:

  • If you disagree on an issue don’t tell the other person that they are completely out of their mind wrong, ask them why they feel that way and listen to them.
  • If they agree with one candidate’s stance that you don’t – ask them to explain why that idea is better than another candidate’s and start your discussion from there.
  • If you really want to hear every answer from each candidate, ask your guests to hold their thoughts for the commercial break or pause the TV so you all can hear everything.

The idea is to have fun, not lose friends! Know that you may not leave the debate watching party all agreeing on one candidate or even one issue, but hopefully you all learned something from one another, and what the candidates believe.

2. Offer an Americana spread

Debates are all about the future of the country – so why not have some red, white and blue food and decor? Or make some American classics? Fried chicken, anyone?

Don’t have time to whip up an entire feast? Ask your friends to bring over a dish. Extra points for anyone that brings over a candidate’s favorite food to your debate watching party.

3. Watch thirsty, drink responsibly

Pick your poison for the night (yes, there is a drinking game), so choose wisely.

Are you a wine, beer or liquor drinker?

If you’re planning on playing NextGen MilSpouse’s Debate Night Bingo alcohol choice matters. Avoid drinks that are too strong, too sweet or too heavy. No sense in reveling in the aftermath of the next debate with a hangover! If you are drinking, please be responsible and have a designated driver.

4. Print NextGen MilSpouse’s Debate Night Bingo Cards for your friends

We’ve created our own drinking game for the debates! The bingo card is mostly blank with options ready to be filled in by you and your guests, making every game and every debate different. The first one to yell “bingo!” gets a prize or bragging rights until the next debate.

5. Make sure your voter registration is up to date.

When all is said and done, and your state’s Presidential primary comes up – be sure that you are registered to vote.

Not sure how to check or register if you’ve just PCS’d? Read our Smart MilSpouse’s Guide to Voter Registration and get ready to vote!

Are you watching the debates? Will you be hosting a debate watching party?

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