Where are you going to be on Wednesday night? That's quite a question here, with the final presidential debate taking place at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) campus. The venue itself has limited seating, a large chunk of which has been booked in advance. The event is important for the university, which is trying to get into the top tier university list in research, education and community impact by 2025.
The bid for hosting the event was keeping in mind the eyeballs the venue would grab. The requisites for being selected as the venue are extensive—indoor humidity should not exceed 50 per cent, air conditioning should be quiet, the floors should be fully carpeted, the seats comfortably padded with unobstructive view of the stage, the venue should be able to provide a media filing centre for 3,000 journalists and the host city should be able to deliver 3,000 hotel rooms within 30 minutes of the venue (the last specification was the easiest to meet).
No venue, however, can accommodate more than a specific number. Nonetheless, not all want to watch the debate at the venue. Many would rather prefer to be in groups, where they can talk freely without bothering about protocol. This is where the debate watch parties come in, not just in the host city but across the country.
“We've had debate watch parties for the previous two debates, too. It's fun. We get in a taco cart and eat and watch,'' said Artie Blanco of the For Our Future Fund, a political advocacy group that is at present working at urging voters to come out and vote.
Across the campus, there are other watch parties. The one at the College of Southern Nevada will be chock-a-block with first time voters. But the party to attend this evening will be Great America Political Action Committee, or in other words, the Donald Trump supporters' party. Invitations are free, but it's on a first come basis, promising to be the most packed meet. The invite tells you to come hungry. And it promises several speakers before and after the debate,too.
For the others, there's always good old television and a bottle of wine.