The first presidential debate created an unexpected furor over fat shaming and a former Miss Universe.
The second one featured more talk of unwanted male groping than of unsecured borders.
How could Wednesday night’s third and final debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump possibly top all of that?
That’s right, the Siegfried and Roy of presidential politics are taking their act to Sin City. The 9 p.m. debate takes place at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Or does it, hmm … ?
Given how often things spiral out of control in Vegas and the whole Welcome to Crazytown feel of this election, here’s how things are more likely to go down at Debate No. 3:
1. Trump and Clinton will face off in a boxing ring at Caesar’s Palace. If it was good enough for Hagler v. Hearns and Hagler v. Sugar Ray Leonard (twice!), then surely it’s good enough for the two candidates trying to knock each other out to become Heavyweight Champion Leader of the Free World. As an added bonus, scantily-clad ring card girls will announce each new round of questioning by the debate’s moderator, “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace.
2. Wayne Newton will be the debate’s co-moderator. As Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz proved during the second debate, you really need two moderators to try and keep the candidates in line. And Newton is “Mr. Las Vegas” (it says so right there on the “Mr. Las Vegas” tab on www.waynenewton.com). While Wallace keeps Trump and Clinton on topic, Newton will keep an eye on the clock and loudly start singing his signature hit “Danke Schoen” (“Thank you!”) whenever someone goes over their time limit.
3. TV’s “audience reaction meters” are out, slot machines are in. It’ll be good riddance on Wednesday night to those EKG-like “trend lines” that snake up and down onscreen as groups of captive viewers react live to the candidates’ answers. Instead, CNN and other networks will opt for the one-armed bandit effect. The focus group doesn’t like what Hillary or The Donald has to say about, say, nuclear weapons? Three lemons will fill the screen. But maybe they love someone’s response on immigration? Then it’s “JACKPOT!”’s, flashing lights and free drinks all around for Wolf Blitzer and crew.
4. The post-debate “spin room?” It’s now an all-you-can-eat buffet. How better to silence both candidates’ endless supply of spinners, surrogates and insufferable hangers-on than by encouraging them to stuff their pieholes full of waffles, prime rib and mini-eggrolls at the official mascot of Nevada, the casino buffet? Sorry, Sean Hannity and Lester Holt, they just brought out the chocolate fondue fountain. Check back for spin tomorrow.
5. What happens in Vegas won’t stay in Vegas. Sigh. Whatever else happens Wednesday night, one things for sure. We’ll hear all about it as soon as it’s over. And we won’t stop hearing about it until November 8th.