Articles providing context for the 2016 presidential election
Daily, weekly and monthly updates on key indicators that provide context for the 2016 presidential election
Americans' recollections of what they heard about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump this week included many references to the New York and New Jersey bombings. By late in the week, references to Clinton in conjunction with the coming debate were frequent.
The last major-party presidential nominee who refused to participate in a debate was Jimmy Carter in 1980. Most voters disapproved of his decision, but it may have helped Ronald Reagan establish his kinder, gentler persona.
Presidential debates aren't always pivotal in campaigns, but they can be -- and they are always high theater. The elements are in place for 2016 to be one of those times the debates really matter.