U.S. Presidential: The stakes of the “faint hope debate” between Donald Trump and Joe Biden
On the Nashville stage, they won’t sing Love me tender. Three weeks after their wrestling match, Donald Trump and Joe Biden meet for a second and final duel on Thursday night – their intermediate debate was canceled last week because the American president, recovering from coronavirus, refused to let it be virtual. The candidates will cross swords for 90 minutes, starting at 9 pm.
With 12 days to go before the November 3 election, this oratorical joust will be the last opportunity for the candidates to influence the undecided, while Donald Trump is on average 8 points behind his opponent. Here are the main stakes.
Who is ready to lead the United States out of the pandemic?
During the first debate, Donald Trump was not really put in trouble on the coronavirus. Joe Biden repeated his classic attacks on the masks and the beginning of the crisis but without really managing to explain what he would do differently for the rest, except “follow the scientists’ advice”. Fast forward to this Thursday: the pandemic flared up in Europe, and the United States is not far behind, with more than 1,000 deaths on Wednesday. Donald Trump, who has been infected, along with about thirty Republicans, continues to hold campaign rallies in front of thousands of supporters for whom the mask is often optional. And for voters, the coronavirus is the most important issue of the election, along with the health of the economy.
Partially muted microphones for a more civil debate?
After the cacophony of the first debate, the commission was very pleased: the candidates will not be able to interrupt each other… at certain moments. The 90 minutes are organized in six 15-minute sections, with two minutes left to each candidate to answer the question without interruption. And during this period, only the microphone of the speaker will be open. This is not a real “mute” button, which would have made the moderator look too partisan, but it should make the exchanges a little less inaudible.
How far will Donald Trump go on Hunter Biden?
2016 had had the hacked emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign, published in dribs and drabs by Wikileaks in the home stretch. This year, it was the New York Post (owned by Fox News boss Rupert Murdoch) that made the controversial decision last week to publish emails that allegedly belonged to Joe Biden’s son, the authenticity of which has not been confirmed. And whose origin is suspicious, with a computer that Hunter Biden allegedly forgot at a repair shop. Donald Trump is relentlessly attacking and denouncing alleged financial embezzlement by Biden in Ukraine and China, but the New York Times revealed Wednesday that the U.S. president has a secret bank account in China. The Democratic candidate assures that it is a “campaign of disinformation” which could have been orchestrated by Russia. On Wednesday, Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said that he gave the computer to the police because it would contain, according to him, child pornography images.
Will Donald Trump denounce the white supremacists and commit himself to accept the results?
At the end of September, his refusal to denounce with conviction the white supremacists who support him had been condemned from all sides. As was his stubbornness in not committing himself to accept the results of the election and to guarantee a peaceful handover of power in the event of defeat.
Since then, Donald Trump has softened the line, notably in an interview on NBC, but he should not escape the issue. For the American president, the time is ticking to convince the last undecided: more than 43 million people have already voted since mid-October via the early ballot.