President Donald J. Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden are scheduled to debate one another in the final presidential debate of the 2020 election on Thursday, October 22.
Viewers have a variety of ways to tune in to the debate via television and streaming, with the debate starting at 9 p.m. ET. The major news networks such as ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, and NBC, will broadcast the debate. Several news organizations have announced plans to stream the debate, including ABC and the Washington Post. C-SPAN is expected to stream the debate on YouTube.
NBC News correspondent Kristen Welker will moderate the event which will be divided into six 15-minute segments with focusing on national security; leadership; the coronavirus; “American Families”; race in America and climate change. The debate will last 90 minutes, there will be no commercial breaks, and it will take place at Belmont University in Nashville.
After the abomination of the first debate, the non-partisan non-profit Commission on Presidential Debate instituted a new rule where each candidate will be allowed to speak uninterrupted for two minutes at the outset of each 15-minute segment. The opposing candidate from the speaker will have their microphone muted during that time. Teams from both candidates agreed to this rule change before it will be implemented tonight.
According to U.S. national polls aggregated by the BBC, Biden currently leads Trump by a margin of 51% to 43%, a lead he has maintained since the start of the year — although, at times, the margin has increased to 10%. The ability of national polls to predict voting results on election day, however, is suspect as they do not account for widespread voter disenfranchisement, suppression and gerrymandering that is part of the American electoral system.
The debates gave both candidates key opportunities to market themselves during an election season that has been upended by the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced Biden and Trump to put most in-person campaign events on hold.
The second presidential debate was canceled after Trump refused to adhere to CDC guidelines and debate in a virtual format after his coronavirus diagnosis. Instead, Trump and Biden competed in town halls airing against each other on NBC and ABC, respectively; in terms of total viewers, Biden handily earned higher ratings.
The sole vice-presidential debate between Sen. Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence took place on Wednesday, October 7, which was moderated by Susan Page, USA Today’s Washington bureau chief. It featured a special cameo by a fly.
The 2020 presidential election is on November 3, but polls in many states are open now for early voting.