Donald Trump reacts during the final presidential debate
(WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

These New Presidential Debate Rules Might Actually Get Me To Watch

In an even somewhat normal world, Donald Trump would have been kicked to the curb by either voters or the “grand ole party.” But that didn’t happen. So we are preparing ourselves to see Biden vs. Trump, the showdown, for another cycle—and that includes presidential debates between the two.

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The first debate of this year between the two candidates will take place on June 27 in Atlanta, GA, and will be hosted by CNN. (The choice of network is outrage fuel for Trump, I’m sure.) Before round 1, the parties involved had to agree to some pretty interesting debate rules.

First, the debate will be 90 minutes long and will have two commercial breaks. Even during the breaks, candidates are not allowed to interact with anyone from their campaign staff. The common narrative from conservatives and mainstream media has been that Biden needs help cognitively but honestly, I think Biden will be just fine. As for Trump, who needs to strategize in real-time with their staff when you are not beholden to any semblance of truth? So in that regard, I guess Trump will be fine as well. 

The candidates’ podium placement will be determined by a coin toss. I am not sure how this will help anyone but it’s mildly interesting nonetheless.  There will also not be any live audience. I have to say, some of us have gotten used to the cheering and booing, but it does make debates seem like some sort of raucous sporting game as opposed to a very serious event influencing who will hold the most powerful position in the country. I also think an Atlanta audience could be pretty rude to Trump, especially since he has that whole RICO case in the state of Georgia. But I do understand why CNN wanted no audience in the studio. Maybe I’m being naive but I’m holding out hope that this will allow for a better discussion where Biden can clearly articulate his achievements and his vision, and Trump can be clearly seen as … whatever it is he chooses to be. 

Candidates must also meet logistic requirements for being President such as those outlined in Article II, Section I of the US Constitution. (Apparently Trump’s 34-count felony conviction doesn’t disqualify him based on those standards.) There are also some polling requirements as usual and the biggest takeaway there is that Robert Kennedy Jr. and his brainworm most likely won’t be able to participate.

The biggest part of the new guidelines involves the mics!

They’re finally doing it

According to CNN, microphones will be muted throughout the entire debate! The only time these mics will be unmuted will be when it is each candidate’s appropriate time to speak.

Interruptions are always a problem at debates and have made many of them totally unwatchable, but this seems even more necessary for any debate involving Trump. He is a standard bully and has made it clear he believes the rules do not apply to him. He has steamrolled through prior debates from his first campaign. He could, of course, just start yelling. More likely, though, is that he’ll use this to declare to his followers that he was “silenced” by CNN and end up raising a ton of money off of a basic logistical decision. But at the very least, it might make for a more watchable debate.

Lastly, candidates are also NOT allowed to have any pre-written notes but they will have some paper and a pen to take notes on the spot. Again, the only way this may, even in the slightest, favor Trump, is because facts are irrelevant to him so what is there to write down?

I will watch the debate because hopefully these rules will shine a spotlight on just how little substance there is behind Trump’s public persona. I also hope it gives a good opportunity to force Trump to confront his crimes. He is now a convicted felon and as much as he will try and spin it, those are the facts.

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