Debate preview, live fact-check, and how Biden slays Trump


Joe Biden and Donald Trump will appear tonight - though thankfully due to COVID-19, Joe Biden will not have to have to shake the hand of the vilest person ever to hold the presidency - at the first presidential debate of the general election cycle. Chris Wallace of Fox News will moderate the first debate. I will be live-tweeting the debate at @reclaimthefight.

Details:

Time: The debate will take place for 90 minutes starting at 6 pm Pacific/ 9 pm Eastern time.

Place: Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic, Ohio. Limited audience consisting of invited guests

How to Watch: The networks will carry the debate live, if you still watch network television. Cable news channels and network news will also stream the debate and pre and post debate analysis on their respective YouTube channels.

Fact Check: The Biden-Harris campaign and DNC War Room have set up a Twitter account, @truth, to follow the debate and fact-check Trump in real time. Follow @truth.

Topics: According to the Commission on Presidential Debates, barring last minute changes due to news developments, there will be six 15-minute segments focusing on the following six topics:

  • The Trump and Biden Records
  • The Supreme Court
  • Covid-19
  • The Economy
  • Race and Violence in our Cities
  • The Integrity of the Election

My take

I am a bit disappointed that topic looming particularly large in our country right now, namely health care are climate change, are not going to be explicitly part of the topics. Nevertheless, Biden has a real opportunity to reiterate Democratic messaging on health care when it comes to the discussion on the Supreme Court and the Republican drive to pack the courts. Health care will also have an important role during the segment on COVID-19, likely Trump's greatest vulnerability.

The economy, on the other hand, is where Trump believes he has the best chance to revive his flailing campaign, and for some reason, polls show him stronger on the economy than on anything else, although according to some polls, his lead on the economy has waned and Biden is fighting him to a draw. This is where Joe Biden will need to deliver the most effective indictment, and I am certain the blockbuster revelations about Trump's tax evasion will play a role in Biden's argument.

Trump will go hard on portraying American cities as beseeched battlefields and as a threat to suburbs. It will be important for Biden to turn the attacks back, remind Trump that he is president and hold him responsible for the violence, and bring the issue back to one of racial justice and police accountability. Biden will be helped by the tough prosecutor image of his running mate, Kamala Harris, and will likely point out in response to Trump's lies about defunding the police that Trump proposed a budget to cut community policing, as well as is holding up the Heroes Act, which includes major funding for states and municipalities, the primary funders of first responders.

I do not believe Trump will get much traction on election integrity. What's good for the president - voting by mail - should be good for the rest of us. Biden, however, will want to reiterate that voters need to make a plan, check their registration, and track their ballots. Framing Trump's calling the election into doubt can also be framed as Trump being a scared despot who knows he can't win a fair fight.

The biggest concern I have that is Chris Wallace and Donald Trump will try to distort and flat out lie about Biden's record, and in particular, the Obama-Biden record. Biden will want to be a rapid-fire fact-checker in this segment, as well as contrast Trump's dark vision with his vision of hope.

My caution to everyone: if you are playing a drinking game based on Trump's lies tonight, PLEASE don't drive.