What will the first presidential debate be about? 3 main topics will lead the convo

The first debate of the general election takes place this Monday, and even though I have my doubts that it will stay on topic or go in any clear, coherent direction given one of the individuals on stage will be Donald Trump, it might be helpful to know what the first presidential debate will be about. An unprecedentedly wide variety of issues have dominated the political dialogue over the past months in the wake of racially charged police killings, mass shootings, terror attacks, big bank corruption, reproductive rights battles, and more, but the debate will focus solely on three topics: “securing America,” “America’s direction,” and “achieving prosperity.”

These topics seem relatively ambiguous, but they make sense if you think about it. The San Bernardino and Orlando shootings, and, most recently, the New York bombing all amplified the dialogue around terrorism, and Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton have responded in radically different ways. Trump has repeatedly called for banning Muslim immigration, eliminating gun-free zones, and consistently fails to specify any details of his supposed plan to defeat ISIS, which he has “sarcastically” alleged President Obama founded.

In contrast, Clinton has calmly pointed out that “ranting and waving our arms” isn’t going to solve terrorism and posted on her website a plan to defeat ISIS that is still relatively vague but at the very least shows she and her aides have put some thought into the issue.

At the debate, she’ll likely reiterate her not unfounded accusations that Trump’s Islamophobic rhetoric is helping ISIS and draw on her years of experience as secretary of state.

Clearly, it’s anyone’s game.

As for America’s direction, Trump’s rhetoric has been known to inspire a third grader to tell his Latino peer “immigrants” would be “sent home” when Trump is elected, and Trump’s education policy surrogate and campaign co-chairman, Sam Clovis has said the campaign opposes free college plans, calling community colleges “already damn near free.” Meanwhile, countless little girls around the country stayed up late to watch Clinton become the nominee, and her platform on public college is pretty much the of opposite Trump’s, but who’s keeping score?

When it comes to achieving prosperity in a nation with a poverty rate of 14.5 percent as of 2014, Trump and Clinton’s tax plans and views on the minimum wage rest on opposite sides of the spectrum, and I bet you can guess which sides they’re on.

Catch the debate Monday from 9-10:30 p.m. ET, streamed live on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.