America’s gaping political divide will be laid bare again Thursday night as Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden face off in the third and final presidential debate in the 2020 White House race.
In what will be a largely empty auditorium at Belmont University in Tennessee, the two candidates will set out their competing visions for the country and face off against some of the most important issues facing Americans, such as the pandemic of coronavirus.
With less than two weeks to go on election day, the debate will be the last opportunity for both candidates to grab the attention of millions of Americans as they seek to consolidate votes among their respective political bases and win votes. floating voters yet to decide on who they want in the Oval Office come next year.
The clash will be broadcast for 90 minutes non-commercial from 9:00 p.m. EST to 10:30 p.m. EST (2:00 a.m. GMT, October 23) on CNB. The debate will be moderated by the network’s correspondent at the White House, Kristen Welker.
Ms Welker is also expected to ask the two candidates about American families, national security and leadership, with Mr Trump and Mr Biden each having two minutes to respond. A drawing of lots will decide who will answer the first question and who will deliver their conclusions.
The Presidential Debates Commission has been running election debates for over three decades, and each contest lasted 90 minutes, with the exception of 1980, when Ronald Regan and Jimmy Carter competed for an hour.
Historians say modern debates can be traced to a series of Illinois Senate debates held by Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas in 1858. The two men attended seven debates and debated for about three hours.
In 1940, Wendell Wilkie became the first candidate of the 20th century to challenge his opponent in a debate, but then President Franklin Roosevelt refused to participate.
The first televised presidential debate took place in 1960, between John Kennedy and then-vice president Richard Nixon, with Kennedy winning the race for the White House.
Lyndon Johnson refused to debate Barry Goldwater in 1964 and there was no further debate for 16 years.
In 2016, the first debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton became the most watched of all time with 84 million viewers.
It beat the 1980 debate between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, which saw 80.2 million viewers tune in.