Here Are All the Sneaky Tricks Candidates Use to Dodge Debate Questions

How many can you spot tonight?


Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will finally face-off in their first presidential debate tonight, in an event that’s expected to draw a record-breaking 100 million viewers. Presidential debates, unlike those held during the primaries, are supposed to be, well, more presidential: there are specific rules governing how long candidates are supposed to speak and topics are set in advance.

Tonight, we know that the candidates will be discussing the economy, national security and foreign policy, and more generally, “America’s direction.” But we also know that it’s not just about where candidates stand on the issues, it’s how they tackle these topics on air—and interact—that we’ll be watching. It’s likely they’ll dodge difficult questions, hurl insults, and in some cases, change the subject entirely.

This video from We The Voters dissects some of these tried-and-true debate tactics. Starring Josh Malina of The West Wing (and, more recently Scandal) and Richard Kind of Gotham, the parody breaks down why candidates like bringing up anecdotes (because you can’t verify them), falling back on name calling, and redefining words (so they can subtly change the subject and assign blame to something else). See if you can catch some of them tonight.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be publishing more from We The Voters, a new digital, nonpartisan campaign to inform voters of key issues this election season. We The Voters has assembled a star-studded crew, including director Morgan Spurlock and actors and actresses such as Rosario Dawson, Tom Arnold, and Mario Cantone, to produce videos that break down the 2016 campaign in an approachable, entertaining way, so voters can get to the polls knowing exactly what’s at stake. They’ll be releasing 20 videos over several weeks. Stay tuned.

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TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

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