One to watch in tonight’s presidential debate


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Thursday night marks the second and last debate between President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, which is expected to take place after more than 40 million voters have already made their decisions on who to support, voting by mail and in person in states across the country.

The pressure is on Biden to deliver a steady and strong performance, while Mr. Trump’s task is to sell his record on COVID and the economy. Biden stepped away from the track to prepare for the debate, while Mr. Trump took a more relaxed approach, continuing to raise funds and hold campaign rallies.

Here are some things to look for in the final debate:

Muted microphone effect

After last month’s disastrous debate in which the president and, to a much lesser extent, Biden interrupted, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced earlier this week that at the start of each of the 15-minute segments, the candidates will have two minutes to speak without interruption, a measure that the commission applies by cutting off the microphone of the candidate whose turn it is to be silent. The Trump campaign has denounced the possibility that an “anonymous” person could mute the microphones.

It remains to be seen whether either contestant might try shouting into their silent microphone to make a point, or quietly accept the new rules.

But even if the rules are followed, there are still 11 minutes of open discussion in each of the segments where the contestants could end up talking to each other. Mr. Trump was asked on ‘Fox & Friends’ this week if he could change his debate strategy and perhaps take some time off to answer previous questions, as Vice President Mike did. Pence in his debate.

“I’m fine and doing my own debate. A lot of people said I won,” Trump replied.

Yet after trying to dismiss Biden with frequent interruptions during their first debate, the president seems to have the idea to talk less.

He told “Fox & Friends, ‘Actually, the interesting thing, they said, ‘if you let him talk, he’s going to lose his train of thought.'”

Alleged Hunter Biden Laptop

Even if the moderator does not mention it, the president is sure to mention the reports of the New York Post on the alleged Hunter Biden laptop and emails. Mr Trump called the Bidens an “organized crime family”, a charge for which there is no evidence. Laptop and emails have not been verified.

Biden has shown little tolerance for this line of questioning. He slammed a CBS News reporter for asking about the Post story, and he recently told local ABC station WISN that the idea that his son took advantage of Biden’s name was “garbage” and called it “the last ditch effort in this desperate campaign”. to smear me and my family.”

Attracts women and seniors from the suburbs

The president loses with women and seniors, two groups likely to be key constituencies in this race. Mr Trump has made open calls for women, especially suburban women, at rallies to “please” like him. And the president also recently called older people “my favorite people in the world,” though polls indicate the sentiment may not be mutual. Mr. Trump won the seniors by a 7-point margin over Hillary Clinton, but now follows Biden with these voters. He will have another chance to make the case for a second term, given that the debate topics below, selected by moderator Kristen Welker, cover areas likely to interest these voters:

  • Fighting COVID-19
  • american families
  • Race in America
  • Climate change
  • national security
  • Leadership

Yard packing

If Welker doesn’t raise the packaging of the courts — the idea that the number of Supreme Court justices should be increased in order to dilute the power of the conservative majority — it’s still possible that President Trump will. Biden has come under fire recently for refusing to state his position on the issue, despite having just revealed in a “60 Minutes” interview broadcast on Sunday that he had set up a bipartisan commission to examine “how to reform the judicial system because it is going out of control”.

Biden told “CBS Evening News” anchor Norah O’Donnell, “There are a number of alternatives that go way beyond packaging.” He added: “The last thing we need to do is turn the Supreme Court into just political football, whoever has the most votes gets what they want. Presidents come and go. Supreme Court justices remain for generations.”

Election interference

Another possible topic is election interference – both foreign and domestic. Mail-in voting and early voting have begun in many states, and concerns about election interference remain high. Just a day ago, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced that Iran and Russia were trying to interfere in the US election and had obtained voter registration information. He also said that Iran had sent fraudulent emails intended to “intimidate voters, incite social unrest and harm President Trump”, and he suggested that there had been reports of these emails. -mails “in the last 24 hours”.

Tuesday, CBS News reported that dozens of voters in a heavily Democratic Florida county and several states said they received emails purporting to be from a right-wing group that threatened to ‘sue them’ unless they vote for president Trump.

Ratcliffe and FBI Director Christopher Wray sought to reassure the public, saying Americans “should be confident that your vote matters.”

On the home front, the president has said for months without evidence that mail-in voting could be linked to widespread fraud and abuse, although at the same time his campaign launched a social media ad campaign aimed at at encourage supporters to vote by mail.

The debate begins at 9 p.m. ET.

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