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How to Watch the Vice Presidential Debate Between Kamala Harris, Mike Pence

Sen. Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence will debate one another on Wednesday, October 7.

Rose Garden White House

The Rose Garden at the White House


Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) will face off against Vice President Mike Pence during the 2020 election’s sole vice presidential debate on Wednesday, October 7.

All of the major news networks, including ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, and NBC, are expected to broadcast the vice presidential debate. Though information on where to stream the vice presidential debate has not been announced, it is likely that the event will be streamed on YouTube for free.

The vice presidential debate, which will begin at 9 p.m. ET and be held at the University of Utah, will be moderated by Susan Page, USA Today’s Washington bureau chief. Harris and Pence are expected to appear in-person.

Topics for the vice presidential debate and the second and third presidential debates have not been released. The first presidential debate on Tuesday will include six topics: “The Trump and Biden Records,” “The Supreme Court,” “COVID-19,” “The Economy,” “Race and Violence in our Cities” and “The Integrity of the Election.” All of the upcoming debates, including the Harris-Pence debate, will run for 90 minutes and will not feature commercial breaks.

Preposterously, in a country where the total of dead from the COVID-19 pandemic is approaching 215,000, the main point of contention leading up to the debate is whether or not the candidates should have plexiglass dividers between them. After President Donald J. Trump’s positive coronavirus test less than a week ago, Pence has reportedly continued to test negative for the virus, although he has refused to self-quarantine in compliance with recommendations from the Centers of Disease Control for those who have come into close contact with someone who has the coronavirus.

While the presidential debates between Biden and Trump are expected to be major television events, it is unclear how many viewers will tune in to the Harris-Pence debate. The 2016 vice presidential debate was a ratings failure at around 36 million viewers, making it the worst-rated vice presidential debate since 2000. Viewership for the the 2016 vice presidential debate starkly contrasted the viewership for the presidential debates; the worst-rated 2016 presidential debate had over 66 million viewers, while the best-rated debate was viewed by 84 million people, making it the most-watched debate in history.

The debates will provide the Biden and Trump camps key opportunities to market themselves to voters in the final weeks leading up to the election. Neither candidate has been able to host as many large in-person campaign events as they would’ve in prior years due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The first presidential debate was moderated by “Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace. It was a catastrophic event, with Trump’s inability to conduct a fact-based discussion of the nation’s issues underscored by a klaxon call to his white supremacist base. The result was a record hour of fundraising for the Biden-Harris campaign, which raised $3.8 million during the debate’s opening 60 minutes. It is possible that the vice presidential debate, during which Harris — the first African-American and Asian-American woman on a presidential ticket — will face off against Pence — who, in an actively retrograde system of beliefs, won’t dine alone with a woman — will similarly inspire supporters to open their wallets.

The second and third president debates will be moderated by Steve Scully, political editor of C-SPAN, and Kristen Welker, NBC News’ White House correspondent, respectively.

The 2020 presidential election is on November 3.

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