October 23, 2016 Update
Well, it looks like a lot of people were wrong. Sorry, Bakari Sellers, Trump actually showed up to all three debates. At least you admitted that your prediction was based on nothing.
Jamil Smith also flubbed this one, incorrectly predicting that Trump would show up for the first debate but ditch the rest. Although Trump’s poor performance in the first debate led some to speculate that he wouldn’t show up to the second and third, ultimately he did.
Richard Deitsch came closer to predicting the ultimate viewership of the first debate,which was 84.4 million – about 5 million more than Deitsch had predicted.
This year’s presidential debates are already facing controversy. Will Donald Trump show up? Will he go all three rounds? The first debate is scheduled for September 26. And right now, Trump claims that he wants to debate Clinton, as long as there’s a “fair moderator.” One wonders what qualified moderator Trump might view as fair. Ann Coulter?
Many people are saying (to use Trump’s oft-repeated rhetoric) that Trump won’t even show up to the debates. South Carolina pol Bakari Sellers (D), currently running for Lt. Governor, bets that Trump backs out:
I predict Trump will not debate Clinton. What is it based on? Nothing.
— Bakari Sellers (@Bakari_Sellers) August 9, 2016
Sellers rules from the gut, a man after George W. Bush’s own heart. Or gut.
MTVNews’s Jamil Smith bets that Trump will show up for the first debate, but not the second:
Trump will try to skip a debate. I'd predict it'll be the second one, since he'll whine about the first one being rigged.
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) July 30, 2016
If the race is being rigged against him, couldn’t that have the reverse effect and make Trump more likely to show up? New York Times TV critic James Poniewozik thinks so:
Dubious of the "Trump will drop out" buzz, but if his polls do keep cratering, I wonder if that makes him more likely to debate.
— James Poniewozik (@poniewozik) August 3, 2016
Assuming Trump shows up for the debates, the ratings are likely to be a bonanza. Sports Illustrated journalist Richard Deitsch predicts yuuuge ratings:
Great Q. I'm going to predict — just for fun — the first Clinton-Trump debate draws 79 million viewers. https://t.co/fxnBh2FPfu
— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) July 21, 2016
If Deitsch is correct, the first debate would rank ahead of the Seinfeld finale but behind the Cheers finale, which drew 93.5 million viewers.