2020 Presidential Debates On Horizon

Politics (The B) – Presidential candidates from both parties are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, which has made rallies and campaigning a stretch compared to election years of the past. With social distancing guidelines now in effect across most of the country, it will likely affect the conventions and debates.

With a lot of uncertainty still in the picture, the first presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice-President Joe Biden is supposed to take place in September. The Commission on Presidential Debates will host three presidential debates and one vice-presidential debate in 2020.

The first presidential debate will be held on Tuesday, September 29 at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. The second presidential debate was supposed to take place at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on Thursday, October 15, but the institution withdrew from hosting the event due to health concerns amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

According to a press release by Michigan’s president, Mark Schlissel, “It is with great disappointment that I must ask for the University of Michigan to be released from its agreement with the Commission on Presidential Debates to host the 2020 Presidential Debate. In consideration of the public health guidelines in our state as well as advice from our own experts — we feel it is not feasible for us to safely host the presidential debate as planned.”

The replacement location for the second presidential debate has been announced and will be hosted at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida. The third and final debate is set for Thursday, October 22 at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.

All three debates are tentatively set to begin at 8:00 p.m. CT, and will run for 90 minutes without any commercial breaks. No moderators have been announced as of yet, though it is expected FOX would have a hand in one of the debates and either MSNBC or CNN the other.  It would be interesting to see an actual unbiased network like C-SPAN host one of the debates.

There is also one vice presidential debate planned. VP Mike Pence and Biden’s as-of-yet-unnamed running mate are scheduled to go head-to-head on Wednesday, October 7 at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

Still a month away, the Democratic National Convention is scheduled to take place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin the week of August 17. The Republican National Convention will follow a week later in Jacksonville, Florida. These dates are subject to change – if they happen at all – pending where we are in the battle with ‘The Virus’.

The President will more than likely run on the achievements the nation enjoyed in the three years prior to the pandemic. It is still unclear where the former VP stands on many issues facing the country.  It is inevitable that both will need to offer more than lip service and pointing out opponent weaknesses.  Both candidates are now in their seventies, so voters should be paying particular attention to what strengths the running mates can provide should they be asked to assume the nation’s highest office.   


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