Trump, Biden to go head to head in first presidential debate of the election season

President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden will take the debate stage for the first time this year Tuesday night. 

The first presidential debate of the 2020 election season is scheduled for 8 p.m. Tuesday at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden will discuss various policies related to topics chosen by moderator Chris Wallace, according to The Commission on Presidential Debates. The debate is divided into six 15-minute sections and will run for 90 minutes.

Topics will include:

  • The Trump and Biden records
  • The Supreme Court
  • COVID-19
  • The economy
  • Race and violence in cities
  • The integrity of the election

Debates offer a chance for the public to see candidates’ perspectives on policies and also their temperament, said Brent Boyea, associate professor of political science.

Political science professor Thomas Marshall said the first presidential debate is the most important because it draws the largest audience. Two more presidential debates and one vice presidential debate are scheduled to take place in October.

The second debate will take place Oct. 15, and the final debate will occur Oct. 22.

As the incumbent, President Trump has an advantage over Biden since he can talk about the policies passed during his first term, Boyea said.

However, it’s a double-edge sword, he said.

“On the other side of that, it’s also an opportunity for the opponent to remind the public about things that they maybe didn’t like about the president,” he said.

Rebecca Deen, associate professor of political science, said both candidates have their advantages. President Trump is good at delivering a one-liner and moves quickly from one topic to another, but Biden has been in the government for a long time and served as vice president for two terms, she said.

Deen encouraged people to read the debate’s transcripts before reading the headlines since they won’t tell the whole story.

“If you can’t watch it in real-time, watch the recording or read the transcripts, and then read the news stories,” she said.


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