By Ariel Worthy
The Birmingham Times
Voters in the Birmingham area will gather Monday night for a Debate Watch Party in support of their candidate. Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump will hold their first debate of the election.
Birmingham Urban League Young Professionals (BULYP) will be hosting a viewing party in Downtown Birmingham at The Vault.
“We wanted to get our community -the young professionals – in a social, but organized setting so we can see and hear what our candidates have to say about issues that matter to us,” Kamonte Kelly, President of the BULYP, said. “We want to share a dialogue about some of those issues as it pertains to what the candidates have to say about them.”
Kelly said he hopes that people will come out so they can also have a better understanding on who to vote for this year.
“I want all people who feel as if their vote doesn’t matter to come,” Kelly said. “In times that we live in now, if there is any question as to why your vote does or does not matter, for that reason we want you to come out and listen.”
The viewing party begins at 7 p.m. on Sept. 26, an hour before the debate begins. In addition to the BULYP, Hillary for Alabama will also be hosting a debate watch party at Chez Lulu’s in English Village. State Rep. Merika Coleman will be hosting and speaking, along with the Hillary for Alabama organization. The party starts at 8 p.m.
Both events are free and open to the public.
The debate promises to be the most watched ever, with an audience that could exceed 100 million people, according to experts interviewed by The Hill, a leading political website.
A debate with an audience that size would be something never seen before in U.S. politics and would be a figure close to what the Super Bowl gets.
The figure would be even more remarkable in an era in which Americans have countless cable and streaming options.
Monday’s debate, hosted by NBC News anchor Lester Holt from Hofstra University in New York, will be carried by all of the broadcast networks, the cable news networks, Univision, PBS and a number of streaming options.
Experts in both politics and television are expecting huge numbers because they have already witnessed one of the most dramatic, volatile and unpredictable presidential races in U.S. history.
Much of the anticipation is driven by Trump, the television personality turned Republican presidential nominee who created a ratings bonanza for cable networks during the GOP primary.
CNN and FOX News both scored record viewership for a primary debate as Trump battled his Republican rivals — and news anchors, most memorably Megyn Kelly of Fox.
“I think debate ratings, especially the first one, will be through the roof, astronomical, and may even approach Super Bowl numbers of viewers,” says Paul Levinson, a communications professor at Fordham University and author of the book “New New Media.”
It’s not just Trump who is driving interest. This is also the first presidential debate to pit a male candidate against a female candidate as Democrat Hillary Clinton seeks to become the first woman to be elected president.