6 Questions Ahead Of The 1st Trump-Biden Presidential Debate
Speaker 1: 00:00 After months of sparring, long distance on Twitter at press conferences and political events, former vice president, Joe Biden and president Donald Trump will meet in debate tonight. The event at case Western reserve university in Cleveland will be broadcast at 6:00 PM on KPBS and all major news networks. Chris Wallace from Fox news is the moderator. The debate topics expected include the Supreme court. COVID-19 the economy, election, integrity and race and policing, but it's not known if or how the major New York times report on the president's taxes will affect tonight's event. Johnny May for a preview of the president's debate is San Diego state university political science professor Benjamin Gonzalez O'Bryan. And thank you so much for joining us. Thank you for having me now in our polarized political environment. Is there really a lot riding on tonight's debate for either candidate? Speaker 2: 00:59 Well, I think to a certain extent, there's going to be a lot of, uh, support for both candidates. It's already pretty baked in a lot of the polling so far suggests that there is going to be a smaller pool of persuadable voters in this election than we've seen in the past. Uh, that partisanship is going to play a pity pretty big role. And so, you know, overall the stakes are probably not spectacularly Hyde, but of course this is going to be the first event where, uh, Biden and Trump are facing off against one another. And so therefore there's the possibility that one of them could stumble a little bit and that would result in a lot of, uh, potentially negative media coverage. Speaker 1: 01:39 And who do you think has more to lose in tonight's debate? Speaker 2: 01:42 Well, I think since Biden has been leading in a lot of the polls and has been taking kind of a, has taken a step back in terms of campaigning and appearances and other things, I think that the spotlight's going to be particularly bright on Biden. And I do think that he has more to lose in this debate than Trump does. What will you be watching for tonight if you're Donald Trump? Uh, what you really want to do during the debate is try to take, uh, Biden, um, off his main points. You want to try to maybe make them a little bit angry. Uh, you want to throw them off a little bit. And so I'm going to be watching Biden's reactions to, uh, Trump's likely attacks on Biden's family and particularly a Hunter Biden, uh, how Biden responds to w the likely interruptions by Trump and how he responds to some of the, uh, falsehoods that are likely to be thrown out there by the president in relation to a wide array of issues that'll be discussed during the debate. Speaker 2: 02:42 So I think that is on the one hand, uh, what I'll be looking for on the part of, by number for Trump. I think, you know, what I'll be keeping an eye on is just how he responds to the breaking news over his taxes and what he paid in taxes. Some of those write-offs, I think this was particularly problematic for Trump and the Trump campaign coming just a few, a few days before the first debate. And this gives Biden an opening to go after Trump and do criticize Trump for not paying his fair share of tax. Speaker 1: 03:16 Now because of the pandemic, there will be a limited live audience at this debate. And there are restrictions on the candidates movements because of COVID. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Speaker 2: 03:28 Well, it depends on which candidate you are. I think for both candidates, I don't think, I don't see it making a, a significant impact. We know that in the past with some debates, there's been a lot of, uh, post debate analysis about, uh, you know, whether Trump stood behind Hillary Clinton in an appropriate manner, or whether candidates, uh, stepped close, you know, kind of close into one another's personal bubbles in a kind of aggressive fashion. And that takes that level of analysis out of it as does. Uh, the kind of crowd reactions are going to be much more muted than they were in past debates because of the limited audience. So that may play a little more, I think, to some abidance strengths and they make it a little easier to stay on message, which again is something that I think if you're the Biden team, you want them to stick to their talking points about COVID about the potential threat to the affordable care act. You want them to stick to those talking points as closely as possible instead of allowing Trump to kind of drag them off onto a, some onto some tangent. Speaker 1: 04:33 Now, one of the criticisms that arose after the debate subjects were announced is that there were no questions about climate change, and that's a huge issue for many people. I would imagine, including the young students that you teach, why do you think that wasn't addressed? Speaker 2: 04:48 Uh, so I'm not sure why they avoided that issue in choosing and choosing those tops. It is surprising considering the hurricanes that we've seen, uh, across the South, as well as the fires that we've seen, not only in California, but also in the Pacific Northwest, that this wasn't chosen as one of the debate topics. I think that probably would have played to Biden's strengths and some of the debate topics probably don't play to his strengths as much as a discussion of the environment would have. Speaker 1: 05:19 Can we expect president Trump to be pressed on whether he'll accept the results of the election? Speaker 2: 05:25 I would be surprised if Biden doesn't press him on his, uh, on his comments about the peaceful transition of power is something that's been a norm in presidential politics for, you know, as long as we've had a democracy, really, and Trump's comments were very worrying. They received a lot of media coverage and the president has really had a lot on whether he will accept the results of the election and has tried to cast a lot of doubt on Malin voting and on any votes that come in after election day. And we're seeing a number of court battles over this now. So I expect this to actually be a really lively topic of debate. And, you know, if, if the Biden campaign is, is smart, they go after Trump on this, because I think this is a, this is a weak issue for them. And I think that the president's comments, uh, we're, we're seeing it as an, in a negative light by a large number of voters, potentially. Also a lot of, uh, voters are maybe in the, in the middle again, you know, we expect the loser in a presidential contest to accept the results to concede, to congratulate their opponent. And, um, and to step aside, if the president is saying that he may not do so that that's worrying and potentially, especially if this winds up tossed into the courts, uh, could lead to a constitutional crisis that we haven't seen in this nation previously Speaker 1: 06:48 Speaking with San Diego state university, political science professor, Benjamin Gonzalez. O'Brien. Thank you so much for speaking with us. Thank you for having me.