Watch the presidential debate live and follow along with our real-time analysis.
President Trump and Joseph R. The first debate between Biden Jr. will begin at 9 pm Eastern on Tuesday night and will run for 90 minutes without interruption.
The Times will bring this event to life with analysis and fact-checking from our journalists. The debate will also be held on channels including ABC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, Fox News, MSNBC and NBC.
Chris Wallace, anchor of “Fox News Sunday”, will moderate the debate. He played a role in one of the 2016 debates between Mr. Trump and Hillary Clinton.
The arbitrator chooses the debate topics. For Tuesday night, Mr. Wallace chose the integrity of Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden’s records, the Supreme Court, the coronavirus virus epidemic, the economy, race and violence in cities, and elections. There will be 15 minutes to discuss each topic.
For Trump and Biden, the debate comes with varying impetus.
Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden will walk the presidential debate platform before the 2020 general election with a very different set of political incentives.
For Mr. Trump, this is a very welcome chance to shake off a race in which he is currently behind. For Mr. Biden, the debate is a risky but necessary step, a close encounter with an unconventional opponent who can and will say almost anything.
After months of complaining about Mr. Biden’s “basement” strategy, the debate is the biggest opportunity for Mr. Trump to refresh as an election between two competing visions. The Biden campaign continues, primarily as a referendum on Mr. Trump’s failures in response to the coronovirus epidemic.
Two things can be true about debate bets at once.
First, the presidential race has so far been an extremely stable affair, in which Mr Biden’s continued voting lead was disrupted – an epidemic, not record unemployment, no mass protests over policing and racism, and an unexpected Supreme Court vacancy. No. Those factors would make the 90-minute debate to move the needle more difficult.
Second, the debate still represents one of the best opportunities to promote Mr. Trump’s current dynamic, his first chance to speak directly to an audience of millions of millions of Americans, along with Mr. Biden.
How soon does it get off the train?
Mr. Trump has always been a showman, and arguing as a politician is some of his biggest phases. He jabs, interrupts and lashes in unusually personal ways, and he usually draws a deep gravitas that he wants to be a spectacle.
He is sure to attack Mr. Biden. It is also possible that he will go after the middleman Mr. Wallace, whom the president has repeatedly compared to his father, former TV correspondent Mike Wallace.
What previous campaigns have shown is that the first part of the first debate often sets the tone – and the tone of the news coverage.
Mr. Biden has clarified that he believes that Mrs. Clinton had argued about character in her debate with Mr. Trump four years earlier. In January, Mr. Biden said, “He did what probably every other candidate would have done.” The resulting debate was an ugly spectacle and he said, “It all went down the drain.”
Mr Biden wants to avoid it – and he has been stress-tested by advisers not responding to Mr Trump’s apparent provocations if they are not central to his own message.
“I hope I don’t avoid getting bogged down in controversy,” Mr. Biden said this month.
A wild card is how Mr. Trump’s tactics and antics will be played out – and how the president will respond in a debate hall without a large audience, feeding the response of a crowd.
Biden could have benefited from very low expectations.
For months, Mr. Trump and his surrogates have awkwardly delivered Mr. Biden’s ineffective and sometimes manipulative clips, verbally stumbling or simply looking lost. It has sometimes been part of a concerted campaign to emphasize – and sometimes even say – that Mr. Biden’s mental faculties have little to serve as president.
This is usually not how expectation-setting works.
Mr. Trump has so far lowered the bar – even with Mr. Biden seeking to take some kind of drug test – that his supporters are expected to suffer a setback on Tuesday. But Mr. Biden, even though he went on stage several times, eventually won his party’s nomination after navigating 11 primary aides.
Mr. Biden was killed off guard by an opponent who became the running mate of California Senator Kamala Harris when she attacked him decades ago for opposing bus driving.
Mr. Trump has repeatedly profited in news coverage by a margin of his own expectations: whenever he downs his bomb – though fleeting – some applause comes in for a new tone.
“Any time he uses a full and sober sentence, people fall on themselves to call themselves presidents,” said Lis Smith, a Democratic strategist who helped to complete PS Bentig’s debate preparations.
Can Trump get under Biden’s skin?
Did Mr. Trump succeed in losing his temper to Mr. Biden? Or will Mr. Biden survive the trap?
Democratic and Republican strategists who went against Mr. Biden in the debate have long recognized this as a weakness, although there is more evidence on the campaign trail where they relied on the occasional voter than the debate platform is.
When provoked, Mr. Biden is at risk of rage and rage and losing his train of thought, and he risks being kind.
“If Trump gets under his skin and Biden starts doing that didactic work – ‘Tell me what it is,'” said Mark Wallace, who ran for a vice-presidential debate with Mr. Biden in 2008 Helped prepare Sarah Palin. “He’s just not worth the time.”
Mr. Trump has spoken out about assaulting Mr. Biden’s family, particularly his son Hunter Biden, and allegations of unnatural sexual misconduct against Mr. Biden by a former aide in the Senate, Tara Reade.
Thinking of how far Mr. Trump can go down this road, it is worth watching when he debated Mrs. Clinton. Pressed on allegations of her own sexual misconduct – this was right after releasing an “Access Hollywood” recording in which she was caught making lewd comments about molesting women – she simply brought Mrs Clinton’s husband into the headlines .
“There has never been anything in the history of politics in this country that is so disrespectful to women,” she said.
Gap of sympathy
With more than 200,000 people dead in the United States from the coronovirus epidemic, Mr. Biden has endured the suffering he has endured in his life – and now his ability to empathize with the grief-stricken Americans – by campaign officials Is one of Who help the former Vice President in this unusual year. (For those who do not know, his first wife and infant daughter died in a car accident nearly 50 years ago. Two of his sons survived, but one of them died of cancer in Beau, 2015.)
How Mr. Biden displayed that sympathy – which was such a discussion during the Democratic convention that Republicans tried to testify to Mr. Trump’s hidden soft side the following week – would be one of the ways he would just with the democratic Tries to join. Base but also important swing voters.
Republican pollster and focus-group guru, Frank Luntz, said Mr. Biden’s sympathy could prove to be critically important, and he was called “a man who sympathizes with everyone.”
“I can only think of one analogy that Biden would perform for a squirrel, which he killed on the highway,” said Mr. Luntz.
He already knows. Mr. Luntz said he ran into Mr. Biden in Iowa in January, not long after the pollster had suffered a stroke, to which Mr. Biden was briefed. “They hugged me and didn’t let go,” Mr. Luntz said, “and it was really good.”
Truth, lies and fact-checking
In 2016, Mr. Trump was relentless in debates in his attacks and claims, many of them false or at least false. Mrs Clinton tried to respond by urging viewers to check the fact-checking feature on her website. Which proved ineffective.
So how long will Mr. Biden – or for that matter, Mr. Wallace of Fox News – spend on correcting Mr. Trump if he says things that are untrue?
Mr. Wallace went on to argue that a successful night would make him “as invisible as possible” to the audience, hardly a preview of an aggressive plan to fact-check the president. “If I did my job right, at the end of the night people would say, ‘This was a big debate – who was the arbitrator?” “Mr. Wallace said on Fox News.
If Mr. Biden thinks every time Mr. Trump is doing something wrong or perverted, he can spend the whole night playing on the presidential field. If he ignores him, he will no doubt think in front of critics in the morning why he would let the president go with it.
His advisers said before the debate that Mr. Biden planned to avoid his time while trying to fact-check Mr. Trump, but some key topics – such as the Trump administration’s move to withdraw a lawsuit – were completely affordable. Overturned the act – more likely to give a factually retort.
Mr. Biden has proved suspicious over the years in admitting his moments of debate – and using a smile and a laugh to dismiss an allegation. It worked with Sarah Palin in the 2008 vice-presidential debate and, in part, a two-man Democratic debate with Senator Bernie Sanders in this year’s final. Whether it works with a candidate like Mr. Trump is a completely different question.
If there are fireworks, will it even matter?
Many voters say the debate will not make any difference. In a recent Monmouth University poll, only 3 percent of voters said the debate was “highly probable” to help determine their vote, while 87 percent said it was “unlikely” to affect their choice. was. Of course, voters also say that negative advertisements do not work, and yet campaigns continue to broadcast them because history shows that they do.
Mr. Smith, the Democratic strategist who worked for Mr. Batigiag, has asked Mr. Trump for four years to argue against “a chimpanzee with a machine gun”: he is both dangerous and “whole Kind of unexpected “. He said that Mr. Trump was widely understood to have lost the 2016 debate – and he won the presidency anyway.
He said that for the 2020 primaries, “I don’t think anyone thought Joe Biden was a big winner in one of those primary debates,” she said. “It didn’t matter.”
The fall debate season comes after months of stagnation in the 2020 race, despite incredible turmoil in the nation.
“Despite a global epidemic, despite an economic disaster, despite opposition to these seismic civil rights, nothing has changed,” Ms. Smith said. “If people have lost their jobs, lost their ability to go out, can’t send their children to school, then what does a political talk-hour TV debate mean to them?”
Katie Glook contributed reporting.