US ELECTION 2020

USA Election 2020 Trump-Biden: when is the next presidential debate?

There were three live debates planned. The first one was an embarrassing affair and was followed by Donald Trump being hospitalised. So what next?

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Election 2020: When and where are the second and third presidential debates?
BRIAN SNYDER REUTERS

President Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden went head-to-head in the first of their three scheduled debates, which was held in Cleveland, Ohio, on 29 September.

The low-down on the final presidential debate.

Second presidential debate cancelled

However, the schedule has been thrown into question after Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis and hospitalization. So the big question now is, when will the remaining presidential debates take place between the two candidates?

The latest news is that the second one, set for Friday 15 October, has been cancelled after the president refused to go with the 'virtual' proposal suggested by the organisers. Trump, who is seeking re-election on 3 November, called the format change "ridiculous" and said it would be a waste of his time to take part.

His campaign, using their go-to strategy, accused the commission of being biased towards Biden. This is despite it being headed up by a former chairman of the Republican National Committee.

"There is no medical reason to stop the October 15 debate in Miami from proceeding as scheduled, since the President will be healthy and ready to debate," Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said. Many observers see this as an excuse for the president to evade the only one of the debates that involved voter questions.

Covid-19 has drastically affected the presidential campaign forecasts for the Republicans and the Democrats and the televised debates are likely to be the only times Trump and Biden appear alongside each other before election day on 3 November.

Original second debate format

Had everything gone to plan, the second presidential debate would have taken place at the Adrienne Arsht Centre for the Performing Arts in Miami on 15 October at 9pm ET. It was actually moved to this location because of the pandemic after originally being scheduled for the University of Michigan, which was determined to be unsafe to hold campaigns.

The 90-minute debate would have been moderated by Steve Scully from the public service network C-SPAN. The candidates were to be given two minutes to answer each question but it would have differed from the first in that it was modelled on a town hall, with Miami residents in the audience given the opportunity to quiz both contenders. After the lack of professionalism and decorum in the first, primarily by Trump, the moderator was expected to be given the option to mute a candidate's microphone to avoid interruptions.

The final US presidential debate

At the time of writing - although nothing can be guaranteed in the current political climate - the date and the venue for the final debate have not changed. It will be at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, on 22 October at 9pm ET. It is one of the few original hosting universities that has not changed its decision to hold this debate. The event will again last for 90 minutes and will be moderated by NBC News correspondent Kristen Welker.

The face-to-face between Trump and Biden will also be divided into 15-minute segments on prepared topics, with no commercial breaks.

How did the first US presidential debate play out?

The first presidential debate of 2020, held at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, was a dog fight affair. Trump and Biden exchanged their ideas on issues such as the Supreme Court, the coronavirus pandemic, racial protests and violence, and the country's economy. But they did so in what was a nasty debate, full of insults and interruptions. Most of the post-debate polls considered that Biden was the winner.

According to YouGov, 69% of the debate watchers were upset by the event, only 17% of viewers felt informed, with 83% of the opinions stating that the debate was negative and only 17% considering it as positive.

Kamala Harris and Mike Pence met for VP debate

Vice-President Mike Pence and California Senator Kamala Harris went head-to-head in a televised debate on 7 October in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was moderated by Susan Page of USA Today.

Divided into nine segments of about 10 minutes each, each candidate had two minutes to respond to the moderator's opening question, following which a deeper discussion of each topic was held.

We brought you the Pence-Harris debate live and there was plenty of reaction.