The 1st Presidential Debate: What You Need To Know

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s vacant Supreme Court seat and the issue of whether the president elected in 2016 or the one who wins in November 2020 gets to nominate a justice is likely to be among the top topics in the upcoming first of three presidential debates between former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump. The new Supreme Court justice is likely to play a pivotal role in future court decisions, including those on abortion rights, according to Deutsche Presse-Agentur as quoted by the Bulgarian News Agency.

The first debate between President Trump and Democratic nominee Biden will take place on Sept. 29. The event, a mere five weeks from Election Day on Nov. 3, is a crucial opportunity for both candidates to boost their support among potential voters. In addition to health care, the coronavirus pandemic, the economy, civil unrest and racial strife, Ginsberg’s death and the question of the liberal justice’s successor have raised the election stakes even higher. President Trump wants a justice, likely a conservative one, confirmed immediately. Biden has said that the next president should be the one to make the choice.

The nine justices of The Supreme Court are likely to make decisions affecting the fate of former President Barack Obama’s health care law, as well as the legality of abortion, either affirming it as a right or making the procedure illegal. But the coronavirus is likely to remain a top issue as more than 200,000 Americans have died. Biden claims that were it not for President Trump’s poor handling of the pandemic, the U.S. could have avoided most of the deaths.

President Trump is adamant that his administration has done a tremendous job of responding to the pandemic, and that it is the media who are at fault for their negative coverage of his administration. It is likely that Trump will need to defend his response to the pandemic and, additionally, explain both massive job losses as well as the pandemic’s negative effect on small business.

Biden is likely to remind voters of his role in passing Obama’s health care law known as the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare,” while President Trump has the unenviable task of explaining his administration’s failure to come up with alternatives to “Obamacare” after having promised to repeal and replace the law in 2016.

President Trump, 74, is behind Biden in the polls. Biden’s lead has remained stable. Congressional Republicans are in trouble as well, and the Democrats’ chances to retain the House and flip the Senate are increasing.

A poor showing by Trump may have a negative impact on Republican congressional races. It is unknown how the president is preparing for the debate or what his strategy is.

The Trump reelection campaign has attacked Biden for not being up to the task of being president, and for showing signs of senility. Thus, Biden is likely to benefit from lowered expectations: if he is competent on the issues and avoids obvious gaffes, he is likely to be perceived as having won the debate.

Biden’s recent town hall performance was a success as he deftly discussed the intricate specifics of a COVID-19 vaccine. Biden appeared to sympathize with and appear empathetic to the undecided voters who expressed their concerns. In contrast, President Trump performed poorly at an earlier town hall. The president looked confused, and his administration had to walk back some of his COVID-19 remarks, insisting that he does not support a “herd immunity” strategy despite the fact the president himself suggesting otherwise during the town hall.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there will be a single moderator at Tuesday’s debate, Chris Wallace, a Fox News journalist with a reputation for impartiality. The next debate will be a town hall style event with a group of undecided voters. The third and final debate will again be hosted by a single moderator and will include six topics, each up for 15-minute discussion. Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris will hold a single debate together.

Early voting and mail-in voting have already begun. The presidential debates are a crucial chance for the candidates to sway the few voters who are still undecided.

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