Hey Britain, Here's Why America Is Freaking Out About Tonight's Presidential Debate

    Everything you need to know about the big Trump vs Clinton vs All Your Hopes And Dreams showdown!

    People of Britain: Take a break from watching Labour eat itself, because Monday is a very special night.

    Now, Britishers, you might associate election debates with Ed Miliband looking sad.

    Or people amusingly claiming that they "agree with Nick".

    But no, in America, the debates are a Thing.

    Tonight's debate will last 90 minutes, is expected to draw tens of millions of viewers, and is kind of a big deal.

    The whole thing will be moderated by this man, Lester Holt of NBC News, who looks a bit like a disappointed head teacher telling off a group of students for pulling the fire alarm during exams.

    Holt, seen here looking like a disappointed head teacher who likes to unwind after a hard day by playing with his mates in a classic rock cover band, has come under the spotlight in the days leading up to the debate.

    A top Republican (who once said he wanted to colonise the moon lol) called Clinton "weak" for wanting there to be real-time fact checking.

    Gingrich: Clinton is "weak" for wanting debate moderators to fact-check https://t.co/yLIbH11Zu1

    Meanwhile the Trump campaign has come out against fact-checking by the moderator.

    How much fact-checking should a debate moderator do? The campaigns' opposing expectations of Lester Holt… https://t.co/dblYfuVmk1

    What is truth, anyway?

    It's not clear how Lester will play it, but maybe he can just play a sick riff on the bass every time someone says something dodgy.

    [presidential debate] TRUMP: i propose we kill everyone HILLARY: do u want a president who says he'll kill everyone TRUMP: i never said that

    Other than the nature and meaning of truth, immigration is expected to be a central topic tonight.

    Oh, and there's another thing to watch out for tonight: A bit of SCANDAL. See, Trump tweeted an invitation to Gennifer Flowers, who had an extramarital affair with Bill Clinton in the 1980s, to attend the debate.

    Hi Donald. You know I'm in your corner and will definitely be at the debate!...💋

    He says his campaign didn't actually invite her, but in any case, she'll be there like an OTT plotline in a soap opera. Sigh.

    "But wait," you ask yourself, "this campaign has been going on for a year and a half – how much of a difference can a few TV debates make anyway?"

    Well, just ask the sweaty ghost of Richard Nixon!

    The 74 million-ish people who watched that debate looked at JFK and thought, "definitely would..."

    And then they looked at Nixon, who looked rough as hell, and were like "nah".

    And thus, JFK swept to the presidency on a wave of handsomeness, and American politics was changed forever.

    But of course, it's not quite as simple as that. One of the sickest burns in TV debate history, for example, didn't change the outcome of the 1988 election.

    Quayle still got to be vice president, but had to spend the entirety of his term applying ice directly to the burn.

    More recently, in the final debate of the 2008 election, Republican Senator John McCain was possessed by a demon.

    And he lost, so that's kind of a key lesson.

    Don't become possessed by a demon.

    Just don't.

    ANYWAY, as the hours count down to the big moment, rest assured that these two are holed up in dark rooms with their aides cooking up zingers.

    How are the two candidates doing anyway? Well, see, while last month the polls had Hillary all like this:

    ...more recently they've started to get...

    ...a bit...



    Which, you'd imagine, would mean that the Wotsit-hued fever dream she's running against must have had a pretty good few months since the conventions...right?

    Well, er, not really. But this is Donald Trump, who apparently gets to do stuff that would destroy any other candidate's campaign and, uh, become more popular.

    There's not really space to catch you up with every crazypants thing Donald Trump's campaign has done in the past few months so here are some edited highlights:

    Oh, and another thing Trump decided to do was to play up rumours questioning Clinton's health.

    According to Trump supporters, Hillary is basically a walking corpse, barely held together with string and injections of sheep glands, all of which is being hidden from the public.

    Which all made it rather awkward when she got pneumonia and was filmed stumbling as she left a event early, to the delight of conspiracy theorists everywhere.

    it's amazing that hillary fought off the pneumonia for so long when you consider the 800 other secret diseases she's also battling

    Another of Hillary's highlights of the last few months was saying that half of Trump supporters belonged in a "basket of deplorables". Whatever that means.

    But anyway, here we are. After what feels like 1,000 long and wintry years of campaigning, tonight Clinton and Trump finally get to talk shit to each other's faces.

    If you want to watch what will surely be a calm, measured, respectful debate live, tune in at 2am UK time.