Though the third — err, second — and final debate is scheduled to take place on October 22nd, saying it’s “scheduled” is about as far as we’re willing to go considering how chaotic the debate season has been so far. Adding to the uncertainty is that president, foundering in the polls and in desperate need of a momentum boost, seems like he would rather not participate. He’s griped repeatedly that the event is rigged against him because of “terrible & unfair” moderator Kristen Welker, just as he griped repeatedly about his unfair treatment at the hands of the first debate’s moderator, Chris Wallace, the lead anchor on his favorite propaganda network. Anything short of Lou Dobbs asking Trump how he was able to land so many Nobel Peace Prize nominations, and to land them so strongly, is unacceptable, apparently.
Trump’s discontent extends beyond his tweets and breathless rants while dialed into various Fox News programs. On Monday, the president’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, sent a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates demanding that the topics be altered to center around foreign policy. The CPD doesn’t seem like it’s going to make any changes, though … except one. Later on Monday, the commission announced that it would allow for a candidate’s microphones to be muted while their opponent is giving their initial response to a question. The move was made to prevent a repeat of the first debate, during which Trump spent the better part of 90 minutes interrupting both Biden and Wallace.
Trump doesn’t seem worried. “There is a chain of thought, that there are a lot of people that say let him talk, because he loses his train, he loses his train, he loses his mind, frankly,” he said Tuesday morning on Fox News.
Biden is “gonezo,” Trump added.
Trump on Fox & Friends about interruptions at the next debate: "There is a chain of thought, that there are a lot of people that say let him talk, because he loses his train, he loses his train, he loses his mind, frankly."
— The Recount (@therecount) October 20, 2020
A lot can happen between whenever you’re reading this and the debate, but it does at least for now seem like we are indeed going to see the candidates hash it out behind socially distanced podiums one last time before Election Day.
Here’s everything you need to know about the final debate:
How to Watch the 2020 Presidential Debate?
The final presidential debate will take place on Thursday, October 22nd at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. It will begin at 9 p.m. ET and run for 90 minutes with no commercial breaks. Kristen Welker of NBC News will serve as the moderator.
You’d be hard-pressed to avoid it if you tried. The debate will be broadcast live on all of the major networks, as well as CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, PBS, and Univision. Several networks and outlets are streaming the debate online.
What Are the Debate Topics?
The debate will have the same format as the first debate. The 90 minutes will be split up into six 15-minute segments, each covering a different topic. Candidates will have two minutes to respond to questions posed by moderator Kristen Welker.
The first debate was marred by Trump’s interruptions of both Biden and moderator Chris Wallace. Trump adviser Jason Miller said on Sunday that he expects the president to give Biden “a little bit more room to explain himself” this time around. The Commission on Presidential Debates isn’t taking the campaign’s word for it. On Monday, the CPD announced it will allow microphones to be muted in order for each candidate to have two minutes of uninterrupted speaking time.
The debate topics, which were selected by Welker and released last week, are as follows:
- Fighting Covid-19
- American Families
- Race in America
- Climate Change
- National Security
On Monday, the Trump campaign petitioned the Commission on Presidential Debates to focus the debate on foreign policy, arguing that the topics selected by Welker were “discussed at length during the first debate won by President Trump.” The CPD responded later on Monday. “We realize, after discussions with both campaigns, that neither campaign may be totally satisfied with the measures announced today,” the commission wrote in a statement. “One may think they go too far, and one may think they do not go far enough.”
Though the Trump campaign claims the president “won” the first debate, polling suggests otherwise.
Holding the powerful to account isn’t cheap. Support Rolling Stone’s award-winning political coverage with a digital subscription. Click here to subscribe.