Trump and Biden Agree on First Presidential Debate Rules: Here's What It's Going to Look Like


Yes, it goes without saying that most Americans are incredibly interested in the upcoming November general election.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t critical pit stops on the way to that destination, and few dates are more important than June 27.

That day (a Thursday) will see incumbent President Joe Biden verbally joust with presumptive GOP presidential nominee and his immediate predecessor, former President Donald Trump.

It will be the first debate either man would’ve been a part of during this election cycle.

(Trump deemed the rest of the GOP primary candidates as being beneath him and refused to debate any of them. Biden, meanwhile, has done everything he could to avoid a debate with independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. — more on him shortly.)

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Given the first-of-its-kind nature, it’s little surprise that most political pundits are waiting for that June 27 debate with bated breath.

For those pundits and viewers, that highly anticipated debate is starting to take a slightly firmer shape.

According to CNN — which will host the inaugural debate, despite not exactly being a haven for pro-Trump thought — both the Biden camp and Trump camp have agreed to a number of rules pertaining to the debate.

Some of these rules are expected, while others are breaking from previously established norms.

Will you be watching the first presidential debate?

One key rule that both sides have agreed to: All microphones will be muted unless a candidate is actually speaking, in an attempt to minimize out-of-turn interruptions.

One minor rule that both sides have agreed to: Both Trump and Biden will debate from podiums, and podium positioning will be determined by a coin flip.

One potential issue for the 78-year-old Trump and the 81-year-old Biden: Neither man will be allowed to use note cards or props of any sort. Biden, specifically, has come under fire for needing note cards in the past. Anyone who has watched the president rely on those cards has to wonder how badly this rule will impact him.

One way this debate will be different from others in the past: There will be no live audience in attendance.

Both men will be allowed a pen, a pad of paper and a water bottle. Aides will not be allowed to interact with either candidate during the course of the debate.

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The entire ordeal will last 90 minutes, with two planned commercial interruptions.

While those rules will all definitively apply to both Trump and Biden, a question lingers as to whether those debate rules will apply to any other presidential candidates, as well.

The aforementioned Kennedy, evergreen Green Party candidate Jill Stein and independent philosopher Cornel West are all also vying for a seat at the table, but it’s unclear whether any of them will actually make it.

All three candidates largely qualify for the debate, save for two key metrics: Candidates must appear on a sufficient number of ballots to theoretically hit the 270 electoral votes needed for a win, and candidates must hit 15 percent polling in at least four nationally recognized polls.

Kennedy comes closest by qualifying for 89 electoral votes, and he has hit 15 percent polling in three nationally recognized polls. Both figures still fall short of meeting debate qualifications.

After CNN’s debate on June 27, the president and likely GOP nominee will reconvene on Sep. 10 for a debate on ABC.

A Note from Our Deputy Managing Editor:


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Deputy Managing Editor

The Western Journal

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Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics.
Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics. He graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. He is an avid fan of sports, video games, politics and debate.
Class of 2010 University of Arizona. BEAR DOWN.
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, Korean
Topics of Expertise
Sports, Entertainment, Science/Tech