President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden will face off for the first presidential debate of the 2020 general election cycle this week. On Tuesday, September 29, 2020, the two candidates will duke it out on six, predetermined topics. The debate will be 1.5 hours long and will air from 9 to 10:30PM EST.
Chris Wallace, anchor of “Fox News Sunday,” will moderate the debate. He has selected six topics to ask the candidates questions on: Trump’s and Biden’s records, the Supreme Court, COVID-19, the economy, race and violence in U.S. cities, and the integrity of the election. Each segment will be 15 minutes long.
The debate will be broadcast from Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, and there will be no commercials.
It will be aired on all the major news networks including ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and NBC. C-SPAN will also air it on its website and YouTube channel.
According to The New York Times, the debate “is likely to attract a television and livestreaming audience of close to 100 million” people. If this prediction manifests, it will be the highest-rated presidential debate in history. Currently, the first debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton holds first place with 84 million viewers.
The coronavirus pandemic will also disrupt a longstanding tradition of presidential debates: the handshake between the two opposing candidates. Rather than shaking hands before the debate begins, the two nominees will go straight to their podiums.
Though presidential debates allow both candidates the opportunity to reshape and reframe the race, the impact of debates and whether they can substantially change voters’ minds is still an open question.
In 2016, flash polls conducted immediately after the three presidential debates between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton showed that viewers overwhelming thought that Clinton won all three.
After the first debate, 62% of viewers thought that Clinton had won compared to just 27% who thought Trump had. Following the second debate, viewers said Clinton had won again 57% to 34%. And after the third one, 49% of voters thought Clinton won compared to 39% that said Trump did.
And yet, Donald Trump ended up winning the election.
The second presidential debate will be on October 15 in Nashville, Tennessee while the third will be on October 22 from Miami, Florida.
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