The US election is entering a new phase of intense competition this week when US President Donald Trump and his opponent Joe Biden hold their first debate, in a TV show that finally allows Americans to follow them in a direct confrontation.
The two candidates will face two other debates as well, before the elections scheduled for November 3.
Tuesday’s debate comes after Trump challenged Democrats and nominated a conservative judge to replace Liberal Supreme Court Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died this month.
Biden, “77,” tops opinion polls nationwide as in most swing states whose allegiance shifts between the Republican and Democratic parties and is crucial to the election outcome on November 3.
But Trump, “74,” is campaigning fiercely, as he flies between these states on his Air Force One plane, at a time when Biden pursues a quieter strategy.
With his history as a skilled showman and heated debate, Trump hopes that the Cleveland debate will propel him to the top spot.
On the other hand, Biden expected Trump to release “lies” and attack him personally in their first television debate, likening the Republican candidate to Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels.
Due to the restrictions imposed by the spread of the Coronavirus, most of this election season’s activities were conducted remotely. And increases its importance because it is the first of 3 debates scheduled between Trump and Biden, and the duration of 90 minutes، They will compare tens of millions of Americans between the two candidates who accuse each other of being a threat to the United States.
Trump has great confidence in his prowess on stage, but it is difficult to predict the outcome of the debate, which will be broadcast live.
Trump will have to answer questions related to the death of 200,000 people from the Corona virus, the economic repercussions of the epidemic, the exhaustion that prevails in large parts of the country, and the news of scandals and chaos that plague his administration from time to time.
However, unlike the courtship he meets in his weekly contacts with “Fox News” or the supportive atmosphere at election rallies, he will find himself confronting an opponent that he publicly describes as “toxic”.
Republican strategist Steve Schmidt, who does not hide his opposition to Trump, said on “MSNBC”, “When Joe Biden comes to the scene of the debate, it will be the first time in 4 years that Americans have a chance to confront Donald Trump for what he has done.” .
As for Biden, he will only have to persist as a leader in the polls, but he will face an opponent that many describe as the most provocative in the arena.
David Parker, director of the Center for Congress and Presidency Studies at American University, said, “There is really no doubt that Trump will try to bring him down.”
He added that Biden has a long history as a figure who is easy to provoke, and most of his mistakes that can be remembered came when he was responding to a question or comment that provoked him.
Who is more prepared?
Trump spent months commenting on Biden’s mental state, saying the former vice president was in such a bad mindset that he even raised the possibility that Biden took drugs that would improve his performance in the Democratic primary.
But Biden debated in the Democratic primary earlier this year and delivered a generally well-received series of speeches during the election campaign.
As for Trump, although he receives questions from groups of journalists, he rarely agrees to interviews with interlocutors known for their fierce style.
Nor has he had a direct debate with an opponent since his one with Hillary Clinton in 2016.
“The first debate is usually the most difficult for a president,” said director of debates at the University of Michigan, co-author of “The Donald Debate,” Aaron Cale.
“When you are president, you are kind of in a bubble, and historically this first debate is doing better for the opponent,” he added.
Ahead of the Cleveland debate, Trump’s team was busy raising expectations of Biden by suddenly portraying him as a good performer.
“We have to prepare for Joe Biden who has the most contact with his surroundings,” said Trump’s public relations officer Tim Murtaugh.
“Fox News” broadcaster Chris Wallace, who will conduct the debate, identified several topics that touch upon the country’s most controversial political and social issues.
Topics include records from Trump, Biden and the Supreme Court, which Trump has been seeking to push to the right over a generation on the eve of the election by naming Judge Amy Connie Barrett as a replacement for late Judge Ginsburg.
It also includes the Corona crisis and its economic repercussions, in addition to the file of racism and violence in the cities, and the debate will also revolve around the issue of election integrity, which intelligence agencies indicate that Russia in particular may undermine it, while Trump has stated that it may be subjected to fraud by the Democrats.
The question remains as to whether Wallace will succeed in controlling the dialogue between the two candidates.